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12-Step Holiday Survival Guide

Let’s face it, the holiday season is a stressful time.

It’s a WONDERFUL time, too. Apparently, nothing makes us as happy or stressed-out as spending time with our families.

Add a new baby to the family and the show is over, friends.

In the spirit of the season, here are 12 steps to survive the holiday season. Read one a day, or all of them at once:

  1. On Demand. Going the movies with a baby is no fun for anyone involved. Rent a movie to keep everyone happily entertained. The blockbuster will be on demand soon.
  2. Extend the Celebration. My house is fully decorated for the holiday season already. With an infant, days, weeks, months seem to blend together. Take time to differentiate the season.
  3. No is OK. You’re parents. You control the baby’s social calendar…and saying “no” is allowed.
  4. Write Down Gifts. Baby is gonna get a lot of love and gifts. Keep track of who gives them what.
  5. Pack Extra Diapers. You never know when that last-minute holiday party invitation will come.
  6. Pass the Baby. Dads, it’s tempting to get to a party, leave Mom with the baby and go find your buds. Don’t do that. Take your turn and let her have fun, too.
  7. Avoid Food Comas. Remember the days of eating until you blacked out? Those days are over. You need to be able to react to whatever challenge your kid brings along. (Case in point, we spent the day after Thanksgiving in the ER after Hava spiked a nasty fever.)
  8. Stay Calm on the Road. All other drivers stink. That includes you. So learn some breathing exercises to help handle the stupidity.
  9. Avoid the Mall. My dad generally avoids malls from Halloween through Valentine’s Day. You don’t need to go to such extremes, but online shopping can help steer you clear from stressful crowds.
  10. Exercise When You Can. Late nights, cold weather, good TV. There are lots of distractions. Try to sneak in some work-out time when you can.
  11. Eat Well. One of the best holiday eating tips I’ve ever heard is to eat an apple on your way to a holiday dinner. It will help you avoid over-doing appetizers and will start your meal on a healthy note.
  12. Focus on Giving. You are teaching a little person how to live. Don’t you want them to spend more time thinking about the gifts they’ll give instead of the gifts they’ll get?