holiday panicThe seconds are ticking away — can you hear them? We have only WEEKS before Thanksgiving and Christmas arrive — the two biggest holidays in my house. And I’m already sweating just thinking about them.

For anyone trying to juggle more than one thing — work, school, family — you know that adding something new is enough to make the whole thing fall apart. This year, I’m expected to make the Thanksgiving turkey when we visit family. So now on top of shopping, wrapping and writing, I have to learn to cook…or, at least, follow a recipe.

So here is my thinking. I’m going to take it easy on myself this holiday. I’m going to find lots of small ways to trim the fat from my life and make room for some fun. Granted, I say this every year. Even my 3-year-old daughter knows to stay out of my way when I’m online shopping. But I have high hopes that I can turn this year’s special events into something more than a panic attack on my part.

Here are my resolutions:

1. Buy more gift cards

No one really likes the sweaters I find. My brother-in-law still doesn’t use the expensive key chain I bought him last year. And everyone already has photos of my kids. I’m going plastic, baby.

2. Buy more ready-made foods

No one has to know that I didn’t make the cake from scratch. It’s no harm if my children have cookies from a roll rather than from my kitchen. If I have to buy the whole meal from a restaurant, so be it. I will make good memories, not dozens of cookies. (I might just steal a few ideas from our contest; check it out on our Facebook page!)

3. Book ahead

Typically, I wait until the last second to decide what to buy, where to stay, what to rent, how to get here or there. This time, I’m thinking ahead. I might even book us a train trip to Chicago (where my in-laws are) to enjoy more family time together. Otherwise, the kids are strapped into their car seats and watching endless loops of Looney Tunes. It’s time to see the sights together.

4. Plan my holiday cards

No more setting up scenes in my living room. Really, every picture I’ve tried to shoot of my kids never turns out. I’m going pro this year. I just got some coupons in the mail, and I’m handing over all control to someone else. I’ll pay a little more, but my pictures will be beautiful instead of stressful.

Okay. That’s it so far. But if you have suggestions, let me know. I refuse to live in fear of the holidays.

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