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Entrepreneur, mom, & wife
When it comes to the holidays, people enjoy having parties to celebrate with friends. Especially after last year and not having as many get togethers, people are wanting to get together and celebrate with friends and family. However, as invitations roll in, you will want to consider what options are best for your family. You don’t have to say yes to every invitation that comes your way. The best way to say no is come up with your family’s priorities and boundaries before you even see an invitation!
The first thing, before even considering invitations, is come up with a list of priorities for the holidays for you and your family. Consider traditions you want to continue with your family and prioritize those over attending other functions. The holidays should be a time to focus on what is important to you and your family, not just attending every party you’re invited to (unless that’s a priority for you).
Either talk with your spouse, or the entire family if your children are older, and decide what are important things to do during the holiday season. Are there any activities you would like to do as a family? Is there anything each individual family member wants to do? My husband love shopping Christmas Eve morning (my nightmare) so he will take at least one kid with him so I am not overwhelmed that morning. When you think about these things in advance, you can easily turn down invitations that don’t work well with your priorities.
As our children get older, I want to prioritize parties they will attend or activities that get them excited about the holidays. There are some activities at school that I would like for them to attend this year since last year they were cancelled. I communicate this to my spouse early on so he knows what I would like him to attend as well. That way, he can put items on his calendar early and know what are priorities before he has work meetings scheduled.
In our family, we celebrate Christmas. I really prioritize not overbooking Christmas Eve and Christmas Day since I have young children who need a rest time in the middle of the day. A priority for our family is coming home during quiet time. We have one for sure who will still be napping and our older son is an introvert. Plus, I am an introvert and need a break during the day. We have both sets of grandparents here in Houston, so we have had to figure out how to navigate family holidays (especially when we both have large dinners on Christmas Eve).
Priorities will bleed into boundaries. Think about what is important and what that means for planning the holidays and parties. Here are some questions to consider when determining your boundaries for the holidays.
Would you like to attend parties all weekend or just stick to one party a weekend?
Will you attend parties during the week when your kids have school the next day?
How late will you stay at parties with children?
When do you want to bring your kids to a party and when do you need to get a babysitter?
Thinking about these boundaries ahead of time helps you decide which invitations to accept and which to turn down.
For our family, typically, I will not attend two parties at night in one weekend. I don’t like to overdo it and be too tired. I also will not get a babysitter both nights of the weekend either. I do not bring children who nap to parties during naptime. I am happy to attend before or come afterwards, but I know my kids need their nap.
This year, I will be even more selective with parties we attend. We will have a newborn at home. I do not like to stay out late when I will be up feeding a newborn in the middle of the night, so most nighttime parties I will turn down. During the day, we may need to tag team depending on her mood and schedule and older boys’ naptime. I am accepting this year will be different because we will have a young baby at home who I would prefer not to leave with a babysitter just yet.
Another consideration is COVID. Talk with your spouse and determine what you are comfortable with. Saying no to a party because you are not comfortable with those attending is just fine! Either say COVID is the reason or make something up. Knowing what you’re comfortable with ahead of time makes it easier to determine what parties and activities you’re comfortable with attending.
As invitations come in, know your priorities and boundaries. And don’t forget to check your calendar before replying. I suggest keeping invitations to the side and taking time once a week to look through the invitations and evaluate each one. The key is keeping your boundaries and priorities in mind when accepting or turning down each invitation.
As you’re going through the invitations, take special care to think about your children during this time. Think about the amount of social interaction your child will be getting during a weekend or a week when off of school. Think about some of these questions.
Is it too much for your child?
Can your child handle two parties in one day or would they do better with one party and the other half of the day to decompress?
Does your child do well with babysitters and could they handle a babysitter both nights of the weekend?
How does your child handle being out of school? Will it be a transition?
And if you need a babysitter, go ahead and book that now! You don’t want to get to a night of a party and not have childcare.
In our family, I consider all these child questions. My kids do great when we’re with other people but tend to meltdown around mom and dad when we get home. We have both sets of grandparents in town and lots of family that comes here over the holidays. Christmas Day is a long day for my kids. I prioritize coming home for quiet time which helps, but we still have Christmas morning at home, one set of grandparents and family before nap and the other side of the family for early dinner. When we first got married, my husband and I would go to at least four different houses Christmas Day (after two different Christmas Eve parties). We have narrowed down to what is most important for us and what works for our children. It is still a long day, so I also anticipate difficulty going to bed or a hard day on the 26th. I helps that I already know we are pushing them and I can be prepared for meltdowns later.
When it comes to the holidays, there’s not right or wrong answer of what to do. You just need to evaluate your family’s priorities and boundaries and make the best decisions for everyone. If there are longer days, know your children and what to expect. That way, you won’t be frustrated with a toddler being a toddler (which happens!).
During the holiday season, I will be posting some tips for staying organized and sane during the holidays. Follow me on Instagram @wildelyorganized to check those out!
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Wildely Organized 2024
Based in Houston, TX, Wildely Organized offers compassionate, professional in-home organization services that empower families to live functional lives in a space they love.
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