Establish a Balanced Holiday Routine

Tuesday, November 29, 2022 by Catherine Gilliland | December Tips

Most would agree that focus and intention are required to guard the holidays against becoming so exhausting they lose the special meaning that can provide grounding and a legacy of memories for individuals and families.

    Too often, December 20 or 23rd rolls around and I have found myself regretting my mismanagement of the time surrounding the holiday season. Some of its joy and delight just get sucked away with the compounding of activities. More has NOT always been better. I promise myself an improved schedule for "next year", but in all honesty, it took years to learn how to more effectively manage these busy weeks. From the responses I receive to my frequent "how were your holidays?" questions, being too busy is a common complaint.

    Today marks the first full week of December. If you identify with the problem I have described, I want to offer you suggestions and hope to establish a holiday routine that meets the balanced reality what your schedule can realistically embrace and the desires you hold which pump the season full of enjoyable, memorable experiences.

    Create a list (or use a calendar) of the obligations (non-optional) events and responsibilities that the weeks leading up to the holidays hold for you. On this list you may want to include extra items like holiday decorating, gift shopping or making, student performances, your work schedule, and possibly an employer party or two. Create a second list with experiences and activities that you would like to add (in a perfect world). This can be called a "Desires List". Here is where the balancing act comes into play. Be realistic! Error on the side of caution! Consider the ages of your children, your finances, the amount of time and energy your family has to add activities and experiences to your holiday calendar. Coordinate with your partner and your older children, then select wisely from your "Desires" list and insert these activities onto your list or calendar. You may wish to block out some time for "impromptu" activities. Scheduling some "free" spaces opens up time and energy for unplanned or unexpected experiences that still enrich the season without sending your entire family team into overload function, creating ultimate meltdowns from "too much holiday".


Check back often during December for hints to finish the academic term strong, ideas for welcoming a change of pace for learning, topics and activities that are unique for this time of year, along with tips for choosing between good, better and best to avoid holiday overwhelm for children and adults alike.