Finding Joy

The busy time of year is upon us with decking the halls, Santa’s big visit and baking cookies. Dubbed as “the most wonderful time of the year,” it often can lose it’s magic under the mile of cards needed to be addressed, the presents that need to be wrapped and the RSVP’s to all the holiday gatherings.

This year, I am trying to take a stress less approach to the holidays. I’m not quite ready to cut down to the four present rule (something they want, something they need, something they wear, something to read), but I am simplifying the amount of presents and choosing more experience type presents versus things that will get lost in the piles of toys already in the playroom. I’ll be posting about some of my experience type present ideas in an upcoming post, so stay tuned!

Spreading Out The To Do’s

I’m spreading out the to do list over a period of time and not waiting till the last minute .

I get my Xmas cards printed in early November. The Xmas the year Emma was born, I created an Xmas labels word document. I usually have a few additions or address changes, but it saves me so much time yearly. I also typically spend a bit more on envelopes to have the return address already printed on them.

There is no harm in going to see Santa early….. We went to see Santa the Monday before Thanksgiving. There wasn’t a wait, and we saved money on the photo package.

I am a sucker for those cheesy Xmas movies. I love to get in all my fav movies while multi-tasking. This can mean wrapping presents, decorating, baking or putting stamps and labels on cards. When multi-tasking, I pick the ones I have seen a few times, so that I know the plot and won’t miss anything! The best part….. Hallmark starts

There are sales year round. No one says you have to wait till Black Friday or Cyber Monday to shop. Look for present ideas year round…. I know I’m most likely going to be invited to an ornament party or something similar, so I pick up ornaments on sale at the end of the season and store them till the next year.

Just Say No

It’s OK to say no to a holiday party, to making homemade cookies for that ornament exchange (order some or pick up some at the store) or to that Pinterest project. There is only so much holiday spirit to go around!

Make A List

I found making a list of what I really want to do this holiday season helps to keep my priorities in check. You can look at it sort of like how Emma makes seasonal bucket lists!


There are a bunch of lists and printable calendars you can find on the Internet. Depending on what you pick, you can also keep track of gift giving, the food you need to buy etc. The one I used is from It’s a work in progress right now. But I am sticking with the plan that if it isn’t on the list, then there is no need to stress about doing it!


Enlist Some Help

This year I enlisted the help of Emma (one of her Olivia deeds) to put labels and stamps on. Getting children involved to help is a good way to help them understand the importance of helping others. img_4417

Grocery delivery is amazing! Taking a kid or kids to the store is daunting enough. You add the additional aisles of toys, extra masses of people and lines, and it is enough to drive you batty. I use grocery delivery throughout the year. It’s especially handy around this time of year. You may need to be flexible with delivery times etc. if you don’t book far enough in advance. If you use a service like Walmart’s, you can also have them deliver many of the items they carry in store including toys, wrapping paper or  !!

If you are looking to make your holidays more peaceful, here are some additional tips in these great articles to help you get started:

Katie Bingham-Smith gets it right with her refusal to run herself ragged in this Scary Mommy article.

Bringing back the wonderment of the holidays is the focus of this article by Erica Layne.

Susan Sachs Lipman focuses on slow parenting during the season.


Adventure on and Happy Holidays,



One Comment on “Finding Joy

The Adventures of a Day Hiker

My stories and photos from the National Parks (and more)

%d bloggers like this: