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Three Easy Ways to Avoid Family Holiday Stressors

see if these ideas work for your family

Since Thanksgiving was so late this year, the Christmas season feels quite short. So having less time to get everything done and planned with the kiddos can feel like a job. That being said, our mommy blogger Lauren has some thoughts on ways to get around some of the seasonal stressors.


Planning for holidays can be really overwhelming with kids. There are so many events, gifts and magic that, as parents, we plan and feel the need to execute at 110%. All of this added pressure can make the holidays stressful and take away the happiness behind it. So I thought I’d provide some tips on gift planning and traditions that could help you simplify your holiday planning, while still keeping the magic alive for your children.

Plan Your Kiddo’s Gifts Well Ahead of Time

Since children may get a ton of gifts from other family members, we try to stick with gifts from us that fall under these categories: want, wear, need and read.  

Want: We usually do a fun gift, such as a toy or an item that we know will bring them the most excitement.
Wear: We like to do an entire outfit (top, pants, shoes). I also get outfits that can easily mix and match, that way their wardrobes last longer and are better used.
Need: This can sometimes go in the grey area with Wear, but usually it’s simple for parents to figure out something they need. We try to go with something that matches their current season of life. For example, when they move to a big kid bed, consider getting them new bedding!
Read: This is my favorite category. I love getting the kids a festive book along with a regular book that’s fitting for the their interests and age.

We also enjoy throwing in some stocking stuffersusually underwear, socks and a few fun, small items that tend to be arts and crafts related, like markers & crayons.

Finally, any time family asks what to get the kids, I always ask them to give experiences. Some of our favorites include the zoo membership, a museum membership, as well as membership to the Happy Lark. You could also suggest swim or karate lessons, gymnastics or dance memberships—places that kids love and will get a ton of use out of.

Pro tip: Don’t wait until Christmas Eve to set gifts up. Some of these toys take hours and you will be up all night. Don’t make that mistake like we have (almost every year).

Involve The Kids In Family Traditions

In addition to giving gifts, one tradition we enjoy is giving back. We do this by getting gifts for children who may be going through some tough times.  This year Tripp (my almost 4-year-old) is really excited to help find gifts for another child. I think this tradition really brings out the spirit of the holidays. It’s such a great reminder of what the season is all about—it’s a great reminder that you don’t have to keep up with the Joneses and all the tiny, perfect squares on Instagram. 

We also like to pick out a new ornament every year, bake cookies for neighbors and do a fun stocking treat every day in the month of December. (I highly recommend the Target dollar spot.) 

Remember the Reason for the Season

Christmas Eve is one of my favorite days, because it isn’t about the gifts; it’s about spending time with family.  I think it’s important to remember that experiences and memories last a lifetime, but the toys only last for a moment. If you actively remind yourself of this, you won’t get wrapped up in the chaos. If you are intentional, you will truly feel that Christmas spirit. And at the end of the season, you will have the memories of all the magic that happened.


Lauren is a thirty-something mama of two that loves to gab about family, food, fashion, fitness, Fort Worth…anything fun! She married her college sweetheart and has a little boy, little girl and one fur baby. She was born in Arlington, TX, raised in Edmond, OK, and moved to Fort Worth, TX, almost 10 years ago. She attended the University of Oklahoma and has a master’s degree in Human Relations. She loves gabbing and helping guide others—whether it’s finding the perfect outfit or navigating the throws of motherhood. She believes we are all here just trying to do the best we can and if she can help make life a little easier, then that makes her happy! Find her blog, Gabbing Ginger, online or on Instagram.

Images courtesy of iStock and Lauren (Gabbing Ginger).