Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and many American retailers are already celebrating Christmas. How many of you find yourself going a bit crazy, running around, and pacing that the holidays are coming?

The holidays are a mix of leisure and stress for many, including mothers who are often trying to get time off from work to spend more time with their families, only to find themselves trying to “run an errand” to get away. Before you know it, you will be holding your baby so no one will get germs on him, trying a new meal that you do not like, sitting with a family member who won’t be around next year, or just plain old enjoying your day. You are not alone #pharmacistmoms.

The holidays are one of my most favorite times of the year. I love Black Friday and Cyber Monday....in fact, I wait all year for them, and am ready to shop till I drop. There is just so much to do.

I have consulted with some pharmacist moms and colleagues, and asked them how they make the holidays more of a celebration and less of a logistical nightmare. Here are the top tips:
  1. Create a shared calendar. This is a great tip so that you and your partner can keep track of all holiday events, work commitments, children events, and arrangements. It is also great to add any work issues, such as an end-of-year deadline or review. 
  2. Are you hosting? Create a list of the menu, and save it. Pull it out each year, and take notes so that you do not forget anything.
  3. Do not drive everywhere and waste your time in a car. If you are lucky enough to live within driving distance of many family members, it may be tempting to "fit" everyone in, but requires driving all over with your children screaming in the car. You probably recall that being forced as a kid to sit in a car for long rides did not make the best childhood memories. And if you live in a cold environment, getting their coats on and off can also be gruesome. 
  4. Working parents? Take advantage of your family and friends. Childcare can be a big nightmare around the holidays. Daycares do a better job of staying open than regular school, but even daycares close for break. Once your children are school-aged forget about it, they probably have at least 1-2 more weeks of vacation than you do! The end of year can be a busy time for deadlines, so let your children enjoy their extended family during this time. 
  5. Simplify shopping. Before having children, you could go to the mall....and just browse, maybe even grab a latte. NOW....hahaha, that doesn't exist. Shop online as much as possible. Stalk your family's Pinterest or Instagram accounts to get good gift ideas. Pharmacist Moms helps by offering the Amazon and Target Deals of the Day to ensure we all get a steal, and to make it easier to shop even during your lunch break. Another idea is to forget about gifts altogether, and exchange recipes or donate to charity instead. 
  6. Purge and Donate Toys This is the best time of the year to get rid of the clutter. Teach your children about the spirit of giving, and have them give away toys that they no longer use. 
Above all, don’t let the holiday season become a series of stressful events. Reign in the expectations, relive the old traditions and establish new ones, and enjoy precious time off with your family. 
 
Suzanne Soliman, PharmD, BCMAS is founder of the Pharmacist Moms group and website. Connect with her and Pharmacist Moms on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.