Who couldn’t use some Christmas mom hacks to make this year less stressful?
The Christmas season is HERE, and so is all the excitement and stress that comes with it. Knowing your enemy is half the battle. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to help relieve the pressure cooker that is December, none of which are Jack Daniels (if you didn’t catch that reference, stop reading immediately and go rewatch Christmas Vacation!):
Buy Yourself Elf on the Shelf Time
I came up with this play last year during the height of the Coronavirus outbreak, which is unfortunately STILL A THING! Use the lingering of the pandemic to your advantage and have your elf “arrive” in quarantine = 10 days where it doesn’t move! This year, you can throw a tiny bandaid on its arm to show it has been vaccinated— unless your elf is a covid-denier, but then you’ve got bigger problems than moving it every day.
Make Space for New Toys
Every year when our elf shows up, it relays instructions from Santa to make room for new toys by donating some of our own. I’m not the bad guy, just enforcing Santa’s request, and we get rid of the stuff that is no longer played with, or that is broken or missing parts. The bonus is that my kids get to practice being charitable, which is never a bad thing.
Virtual Gift Lists
It’s hard to keep track of everyone’s lists, and even harder when your family members ask what Mom wants (sometimes we’re so busy worrying about what everyone else wants that we don’t actually take time to come up with our own lists, how sad is that?!). Use wish lists from most major retailers (Amazon, Target, Walmart, etc.) to add items to and then share with relatives. This also prevents the dreaded “duplicate” gifts! STL Moms used Elfster for our contributor gift exchange which allows you to add gifts from any retailer onto one list that can then be shared. Even if that store doesn’t have an online presence, you can add it manually. Game changer.
Think Like an Accountant
Use a spreadsheet for gift giving! Not only will it help you keep track of what you’ve already bought for whom, but it will help you stay within your Christmas budget, make sure your gift-giving is “even” for each kid, and avoid duplicates. Then, when it comes time to wrap, you have a reference to remind yourself of who each gift is meant for.
Use Address Labels for Christmas Cards
Contrary to popular belief, you do not get bonus points for hand-addressing the envelopes. And so long as you save the template you use for printing out the labels, you only have to do a once-over next year to update the list instead of starting from scratch.
Hot Glue Gun = Sturdier Gingerbread House
The “icing” that comes with the kit never seems to actually do the job of cementing the pieces together, so grab your hot glue gun and get to work. In addition to actually holding the walls/roof together, it is ready to go in minutes instead of waiting for an hour for the icing to dry.
Jazz Up Drinks
Keep a bag of cranberries in the freezer and instantly add a pop to any holiday drink: cider, champagne, sparkling water, your favorite cocktail, etc.
Put Down the Apple-Themed Mug
Ask any teacher, and they will tell you that while it’s the thought that counts, they’d prefer a gift card. Even if your budget is modest, a $5 gift card to Target, Starbucks, or even a gas card is appreciated. Just make sure to write a heartfelt note of gratitude with the card, and you will automatically make their day.
Think Outside the Box for Last-Minute Gifts
It happens. You forgot about the office gift exchange, or your brother-in-law brought his new girlfriend to Christmas dinner. Get creative with last-minute gifts— as long as you have a bottle of wine, candle, or tin of holiday cookies/candy on hand, throw it in a gift bag, and boom! Instant present.
Plastic Wrap Isn’t Just for Leftovers
For fake tree owners only: Once the tree has served its purpose, wrap it in plastic wrap! It keeps everything in place and is ready-to-go for next year. But if you enjoy the “trimming the tree” tradition, store the ornaments separately and throw a trash bag over the bare tree, so you don’t have to reassemble it from scratch next year. It may need a good fluffing once you pull the bag off, but it still saves time compared to normal.
What are your favorite Christmas hacks?