Once the sugar rush from Halloween candy is over, it’s holiday time, again.
Holidays can be hard as an ADHD mom for a few reasons:
1) I PLAN AHEAD WITH GOOD INTENTION, NOT GOOD FORESIGHT.
2) I sometimes (read ALWAYS) over schedule. This leads to family members who are over-stimulated with no breaks to just “be.”
3) I don’t plan enough giving to those less fortunate. In past years it’s been about giving to our own personal circle of family and friends. This creates what to buy, budget and wrapping drama. I want to pare it down and concentrate on those in need.
4) I don’t prioritize what I WANT TO FEEL during the holiday season. I’ll explain this towards the end of the post.
To combat my weaknesses, we’re doing things a bit differently this year. Maybe you’ll like the ideas here. If not, you’ll get some “holiday don’ts.”
I hope my list encourages you to think differently about what’s most important for your family this holiday season.
1. Thanksgiving Vacation
Thanksgiving Dinner is out. Literally, we’re going away for the week of Thanksgiving! Our best friends in the world moved to Texas this past summer. We were bummed but excited for them. Before they left we made a pact to see them for Thanksgiving and it’s happening! We’ll be gone for the entire week. Plans include lounging at their pool, checking out Sea World on Thanksgiving Day and visiting Austin for a night with 2 couples and all 5 of our children. We’re traveling from Monday to Monday to avoid airport drama. I need to pay my substitute teacher in David Yurman bracelets for agreeing to take my job.
THE TEXAS LONG-HORN. I couldn’t resist.
And, am I sad about no big turkey dinner with extended family? Nope. I’m not a great cook and I don’t love turkey. I may miss making my pumpkin flan, maybe. . . But traveling takes a lot of pressure and guilt (real or imagined) off of us. Thanksgiving is now a vacation instead of work. And having my children be with friends they enjoy matters, too. This is the first year we’ll spend Thanksgiving with other children, not just beloved parents and aunts and uncles.
2. December’s Family Calendar
I have a monthly calendar meeting with myself the first week of each month to prepare for the following one. I synthesize school calendars, 3 jobs worth of work calendars, sports, social stuff and extended family invites into one dry-erase orchestra on my fridge. I have a post about it here.
For December’s family calendar I schedule one holiday event per week (no more than 4 for the month) and one takes place over winter vacation. I use Washington Parent Magazine, to check out new events for families in our area. Just google kids events plus your city’s name to plan fun holiday outings. There are two local light shows we always attend. They’re guaranteed to bring holiday cheer. One is with our neighbors. The other is with my in-laws. We pick 2 more and that’s IT!
3. Less is More
December’s gift-giving motto: less is more. Our children get three gifts each. There is a total of nine presents under the tree. I haven’t decided if I’ll have my younger two believe in Santa, or not. My older one knows the truth, now. There is another post about Santa (or Hannukah Harry) forthcoming. It was always my favorite and most magical time of the year as a child. The Santa stuff is complicated for me.
4. No TV for Winter Break.
Wow, that is scary to write. I’m not a TV watcher but my husband and son are avid viewers. It helps them calm down and de-stress. I’m hoping we can replace it with winter stay-cation events around D.C. Also, I’d like to host some friends and volunteer over the break. I need to see how we operate without Amazon Prime and Netflix. Dora and my daughter are on a first-name basis. I know, in my heart, we need this break. Even if it breaks me.
My followers are holding me accountable for this list! I’ll let you know how the holidays go in January. If all else fails–I’m taking a 20-second hug from anyone who’s willing to give it! I wish for peace and calm to all ADHD parents and families during the holidays.
For the entire holiday season, I want to feel warmth, calm, the closeness of family, friends, and LOVE. For us, that means simplifying decorations, gifts, how many events we host and attend, and how much money we spend over the holidays. To give you a mental picture: imagine Nicolas Cage in “Family Man.” Not the wealthy businessman, but the middle-class father who married the love of his life.
If you’re doing something different this year, let me know in the comments. Is it difficult to re-think traditions? Or can you create new ones by combining them with what you’ve always loved?