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12 Ways to Slow Down This Holiday Season

When the holiday season bears down and gets too busy it’s time to step back and re-set. Here are 12 ways to slow the holiday season down to enjoy the time, not just get through it. Share these with your family and friends to create a season of calm and care.

1. Gather the day’s - or accumulated - holiday cards from the mail, open them and tell a short story about how you met the friend, a funny time spent together, or some other special note that will add a dimension to the 2-D greeting card. Bring the holiday wishes to life and more meaning to the card when you reflect on the relationship. Even better, call that friend or family member just to say ‘hi!’

2. Elf on the Shelf every OTHER night, or even third night. My kids believe that only adults can touch ‘Stripey’ the elf - kids are his kryptonite - and are totally open to the idea that Stripey needs to be left alone every other day.

3. Use labels instead of hand addressing your holiday cards. If this feels wrong, choose a script style font to use for the printed address labels.

4. Try not to double (or triple!) book. As easy as it might seem to make the brunch, 4p open house and 8 pm party on a Saturday, you’ll wind up feeling taxed the next day and can often take a couple of days to recover.

5. Let the kids REALLY help trim the tree. Don’t micro-Mom-age and let the kids take the lead on the ornaments. I’ll grant you the lights.

6. Use a Santa Share Sack or other mechanism to get the kids thinking about giving during this season of excess. Here’s how to make your own Santa Share Sack and encourage kiddos to give as they receive.

7. Whether you light a candle in a Menorah or an Advent wreath during this season, light a candle at dinner each night to both symbolize the season and create a warm and cozy environment that is sure to slow down the family for a few laughs and stories over dinner.

8. Give thanks over meals and before bed. If it’s already a ritual weave in thanks for this special season when we share time with friends and family we might not get to see during other times of the year. Ask for patience, wisdom and a healthy pace as we welcome another day.

9. Schedule down time. It’s easy to approach the weekends with lots of energy and excitement for Santa lap sitting, eggnog sipping, caroling and more, but be sure to schedule in some quiet time alone or with family to admire your seasonal decorations, take a winter walk, or call an old friend.

10. Create an assembly line. Whether it’s gift wrapping or teacher and neighbor gift making, take a page from Detroit and other assembly line industry and create efficiencies in your work. Need to wrap a dozen gifts? Lay out enough paper for the job, wrap all items, THEN add ribbon, THEN add gift tags.

11. Ask for help. If you’re the hostess with the mostess and every year is a delight, but also a chore when it comes to family gatherings, change up the routine and make dinner a potluck or a brunch. Feel comfortable changing family traditions if only for one year to find out what might work best.

12. Crank the carols! When all else fails and dinner needs to be made, gifts bought and wrapped, cards signed and sent, family called and kids bathed, turn on the holiday music and enjoy!

By Jennifer Porter