Never Worry About The Holiday Season Again

Never Worry about the holiday season again

Imagine this.

It’s December 18th. You are picking up your child from the bus stop. It’s 4:00 p.m.

All of sudden you realize you never made it to the post office with the packages for your out-of-town family.

In a panic, you race home, forcing your child to get in the car while you run inside to get your purse and the packages.

Sitting in traffic 20 minutes later, you feel irritable and have a headache.

“Mom, I’m hungry.”

“I don’t think I have any food in my purse.”

You start digging through your bag and find a smooshed granola bar that you toss into the back seat.

The line at the post office is a mile long. By the time you leave it’s nearly the dinner hour.

Feeling like a total failure at life, you run through Chick-fil-A instead of going home to an empty refrigerator. (You never went grocery shopping this week.)

The rest of the night goes by in a blur.

This story encapsulates why I have a love/hate relationship with the holiday season. And yes, I may or may not have actually been talking about myself.

The thing about the Holidays, is that there is too much to do, too much to remember.

And you still have to do all the normal day-to-day stuff!

Is there anyone else who feels this way?

What should be a time of togetherness and joy becomes stressful.

This year I am doing things differently, and so can you.

Planning for the holiday season puts you in control so you can enjoy more and stress less.

Never worry about the holiday season again


Use a Holiday calendar

Print out a November and December calendar that is separate from your regular planner.  This way you can write on it and display it prominently for those two months.

When you get an invitation, immediately add it to your Holiday calendar. If conflicts arise, discuss them with your family to determine which invitation you will accept.

You are not obligated to travel all over town so you can make every party.

Check your children’s school schedule to see what days they have off, and what days you must attend holiday concerts and school events.

Ask for time off at work ahead, in October if at all possible.

Plan Ahead

The first week in November decide where you are going for Thanksgiving.

Personally, I am not a great cook so I prefer to go somewhere else.

Have the uncomfortable conversations with family and friends about who is invited, who is hosting etc. Do this early, so you get it out of the way.

If you are hosting, make decisions about who you are inviting into your home. Call or email these people so they know they are invited.

This enables you to start thinking about how many people you are feeding.

Check out this Thanksgiving Menu Maker. Seriously, just do it.

Repeat this process for Christmas Eve and Christmas day the week after Thanksgiving.

Keep a running list of attendees and who has responded to your invites.

Advice for Holiday gatherings

Many of us with ADHD get stressed out with a busy social schedule. During the Holidays we feel like we should be seeing everybody and doing everything.  But you don’t have to.

  • Pick and choose which engagements are really important to you.

  • Decide ahead of time how long you will stay.

  • Mentally prepare for crowds and choose a quiet spot before you get stressed.


Emotional management during the holiday season

Keep your expectations in check when it comes to family gatherings and meals.

We all want a perfect family holiday, but sometimes we become more like the Griswolds than we would like.

Accept your family members for who they are. You cannot change them, and you probably shouldn’t try.

No, you probably will not stick to your diet. Nor will you reconcile with cousin Sally who tried to tell you how to parent last year.  It’s ok.

  • Try to predict the people and conversations that might trigger you.

  • Always take a moment to think before you speak, you are the bigger person.

  • Remain calm and try to enjoy the people you came to see.

  • Go to another room for a moment if it helps.

Take care of your children

I know this sounds obvious, but often we don’t realize how much our anxiety and stress can rub off on our children.

Understand that your children will probably be just as overstimulated as you are.

Talk to them ahead of time so they know what to expect at Holiday gatherings. Discuss your expectations for their behavior in these situations.

Maintain your daily routines throughout the Holiday Season to ensure everyone is well-rested and healthy.

Gift giving is tough

For those of us with executive function challenges, choosing, organizing and preparing gifts is extremely stressful this time of year.

I have found that when I start early, and use a master list, things go much smoother.

Begin by making a master list of people you need to buy for. Separate the list into the A list – family members and mandatory gifts, and the B list – people you would like to buy for if there is wiggle room in your budget.

Do not feel obligated to participate in office gift exchanges if you cannot afford to do so. Politely explain your financial situation. If people want to talk, let them.

Next, determine what, if any, budget you have for gift buying.

Some banks still offer Christmas clubs so you can save year-round for the Holiday Season. Otherwise, you might have to dip into your savings.

Browse online deals beginning after Halloween so that you can get some ideas for the people on your A list. Write down your ideas on your master list.

Look at Pinterest for inexpensive handmade gifts. People really do appreciate something you took the time to create for them.

Take care of your A list before you start on your B list.

Have Fun

No seriously, do something that is actually fun. Build it into your Holiday calendar.

If you enjoy Christmas lights, take a car ride with hot chocolate and enjoy.

Look for ways to celebrate the season that are not just about gifts. This is a great way to begin a new family tradition.

Read books with your children, watch the classic holiday movies.

Get all cozy and snuggly.

You really can do it all, it just takes some planning.

Planning for the holiday season puts you in control so you can enjoy more and stress less.

Wanna see how I’m planning out my holiday season?

You’re in luck!  Download my simple, customizable Holiday Planner below.

What parts of the Holiday Season are the toughest for you?