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Holiday Season Survival Tips: How To Not Lose It This Christmas

Holiday Season Survival Tips: How To Not Lose It This Christmas
Carly Jacobs

I don’t find Christmas very stressful, although that may be about to change with bub on the way.

In the past, I’ve been a child-free grown up with a very supportive partner so we’re pretty good at navigating Christmas without too much stress. Our biggest issue is usually making it around all the families on Christmas day so we can see everyone but Mr Smaggle doesn’t drink so he tends to happily ferry me around while I do a wine and beer tour of our family homes. It’s grand.

None of this happens by accident though, there’s lots of careful planning involved. For example, Mr Smaggle is an introvert and only has a few hours of solid people contact time in him per day before he stops being able to communicate effectively from pure exhaustion so we need to spend that time wisely. Me? I can’t get enough of Christmas celebrations. Often he’ll drop me over to my parent’s house nice and early so I can get the full Smaggle Christmas experience. Day drinking and listening to the Mariah Carey Christmas album while making gourmet food in the kitchen. He’ll come back a few hours later in time for lunch and he’ll have a lovely time because he’s well charged and ready to be around people. It’s little things like this that help make the day enjoyable for everyone.

Every family is different and you need to come up with systems that work for you but here are a few things to think about this Christmas if you want to survive the holiday season with your sanity intact.

holiday season

1. Do what you want to do but try to make your family a priority 

Theoretically, I’d love to have a quiet Christmas with just Mr Smaggle and myself in Melbourne without having to travel anywhere but to be honest, I really love Christmas with my family. I also still have three living grandparents (which is quite unusual for someone my age) and I want to be there for whatever Christmases they have left. So for the next few years at least, I’m making that a priority. Do what works for your family. If packing the kids into the car for a week-long trip up/down the coast of Australia is more trouble than it’s worth, give yourself a year off here and there and visit the family at a different time of year.

2. Give yourself a set amount of indulgent days 

If you’re the type of person who needs to watch their weight (aren’t we all?), I have a fabulous tip from a listener of Straight & Curly. Jodie says to choose 10 indulgent occasions over the holiday season where you can eat and drink whatever you like and then you just eat healthily the rest of the time. Christmas and New Year will obviously be two of those occasions and then you have 8 occasions over December and January in which to play with. I love this concept because you get to enjoy yummy food and drink without doing too much damage to your health. Most people also respond very well to boundaries so if you put those in place before the season starts, you’ll have a better chance of sticking to them.

holiday season

3. Don’t participate in gift giving if it’s not your thing 

I buy presents for my immediate family, Mr Smaggle and Mr Smaggle’s immediate family. That’s it. My best mate doesn’t even get a present. I just chose not to participate in extra gift giving. I’d much rather take a bottle of wine to friend’s house and spend time with them rather than buy them an obligatory gift that I’m not even sure they’ll even like. It also saves me ending up with a bunch of stuff after Christmas day that I probably won’t use. If have to buy a present for someone, I always make sure it’s consumable. A bottle of wine or something delicious and edible, that way it can be eaten or re-gifted very easily and there’s less crap that ends up in landfill after the Christmas season.

4. Get on board with January catch ups 

Everyone panics about catching up in December. What’s wrong with January? It’s a great time of year to hang out. Lots of people are still off work, the weather in Australia is beautiful and everyone is more relaxed after the business of Christmas. Leave your catch-ups for January and do the least amount of stuff possible in December.

holiday season

5. Don’t leave everything to the last minute 

It’s only halfway through November… you could easily get all your Christmas shopping done before December. Why not aim to do that? Full admission: I can’t see presents being a thing this year for us as I have literally no idea when our baby girl will get here. But for the rest of you who probably won’t have their first child a week before Christmas, do as much shopping online as you can so you don’t have to go to the shops. I went into the city on the weekend in Melbourne and it was out of control already. Try to avoid the Christmas crush and get your shopping done now

What are your tips for keeping sane during the Christmas season? What’s your biggest stress during the holidays?

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  1. Missy D 5 years ago

    Good tips. Though it’s definitely the endless parties through November and December that do my head in. At work alone we have three – too many! My family have decided to opt out of gifts this year and just spend time together – honestly, every time we’ve gone for this option it’s been the most relaxed Christmas. No battling of shopping centres. I actually like giving gifts, but there’s one or two family members who struggling financially at this time of year, so we try to make it easy on everyone. Also, everyone has everything they need.

    What are you guys going to do with your mini car now that bub is on the way? I remember you saying there’s barely room for the two of you!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I wish I could get everyone to agree to no presents – just buy some excellent booze and lets drink it together! And yes – everyone does have everything they need. We’re keeping the Smart (Mr Smags will have that car forever!) but we bought another family friendly car. We’ve always had two cars (bar the last few years) so it’s like going back to our natural state of being.

  2. Reannon 5 years ago

    In opted out of gift giving a few years back & my bff was a bit miffed cause she loves that shit but I have stuck to my guns. I don’t need stuff, she doesn’t need stuff & neither do any of our kids. And I am so onboard for the January catch up, itctakws away so much stress!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      My bff is the same – such a generous soul and loves gift giving! I don’t need a damn thing!

  3. Tracey 5 years ago

    I was due on Dec 8th last year but my baby boy wasn’t ready to make his entrance until the 19th Dec. I ended up getting last minute giftcards for most of my family including ones for Amazon and also a cinema and food chain here in the UK. I got great feedback from everyone so I’m tempted to do something similar this year. January can be a tight month moneywise for a lot of people so I guess it’s nice to be able to treat yourself to a cinema trip or meal out.
    Sending you my best wishes for the birth of your baby girl. I will be looking out for your announcement in December. The real question is, how will you ever top that present to Mr Smaggle?! ??xx

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Thank you! That’s lovely! We’re not getting her a present this year – we figure the gift of life is enough! Same with Mr Smags – he gets his precious girl (and he wanted a girl!) so he’s not getting a present either. 🙂


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