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I want our December to be more FUN, less ‘F this’ – anyone else?!
I came across this little digital download collection last night and it made me roll my eyes HARD – it’s a 96 (!) page document to help “keep you organized for the holidays” but it really reads like a nervous breakdown waiting to happen 🥴
different than follow an actual laundry list (book?) that includes elf on the shelf planners, a christmas tree planner and 96 other pages of holiday obligations… you in?!
it’s not a to-do list, not a holiday bucket list or organization list – just a collection of the tips, tricks, hacks & little nuggets of wisdom I’ve picked up over the last 11 holidays as a mom!
if you also want to work smarter, not harder this holiday season, follow me @lovelyluckylife for 20 holiday hacks for the holidays 🤝❤️👯♀️
20 Holiday Hacks for Moms
A collection of the tips, tricks, hacks & little nuggets of wisdom I’ve picked up over the last 11 holidays as a mom to help you work smarter (not harder!) this holiday season!
1. Pre-Holiday “State of the Union” Meeting w/ your Spouse
have a Pre-Holiday State of the Union meeting with your spouse
Schedule a day date, dinner, drinks or even just a time after the kids go to bed to bring your WHOLE holiday to the table. Bring your calendar, your phone, your laptop, work/school/sports/social schedules – bring it ALL 🗓️
We’re calendaring, scheduling, planning, prioritizing, negotiating – asking for backup & delegating.
THIS is the time to say “can you buy your own mom’s gift this year” or “when your uncle Bob tries to talk to me I need you to intervene ASAP” or “I need the day to wrap gifts on XyZ” – trust me, better now than snapping it in the moment 💁🏻♀️
Honestly, not a bad idea for a normal month but a true GAME CHANGER when it comes to the holidays!
if you do this, any tips to share?
2. Buy an Advent Calendar
an Advent calendar obviously isn’t a MUST but it is an easy win – hear me out! we didn’t do them before 2020 but at that point I was looking for ANYTHING to make spirits bright so I ordered one for each of the kids & the joy it brought daily them was worth it 🙌
kids love a daily tangible countdown and we love an easy ‘yes’ moment 💁♀️ so buying one is a low effort, high reward holiday move!
if you need some help, I rounded up 25 kid-friendly Advent calendars at all price points for all ages – every single one *should* arrive by 12/1 (which is in 9 days but who’s counting… )
do you do Advent calendars at your house?
PS I don’t have a link for this exact one because it’s $80+ right now 😳🙄 but lots of other good options linked in my holiday hacks highlight
3. Dialect Quiz for Conversations
have this ‘completely neutral but fun and perfect for all adults’ dialect quiz link ready for when the conversation turns to politics, religion, or anything really effing boring it takes up some time, sparks convo, and it’s just kind of fun!
I’ve shared this Quiz before so if you’ve taken it, was it correct?! the accuracy is kind of wild!
4. Steal our holiday PJs tradition
super easy & I think will be such a win someday! I buy the same holiday print pjs every year and we hand them down from child to child, which makes for cute pics but isn’t revolutionary. I’ve slowly built our collection and now most years, I don’t even have to buy new! my grand plan is to save the pajamas and when my kids are grown, I’ll use the fabric to have some kind of holiday keepsake made – maybe an ornament? TBD.
a hack of this hack would be buying a single women’s nightgown in the print & just using it as fabric and not stressing about keeping a ton of pairs of kids’ pjs for 20 years 🙃🤣
5. Be ready to pivot!
I feel like this is a given after the past few years of navigating the holidays during a pandy with young kids but I’m mainly posting as a reminder to *myself*… it’s so easy to be SO bummed when you have to skip something fun due to illness (or whatever else) but just a gentle reminder that it’s all part of your family’s story. so remember that if you’re stuck at home that you’re not the only one ❤️ – anyone in the same boat?
6. Schedule a Wrapping Party 🎁
Slightly less cool than the dramatization above but I’ve been doing a lamer version of a Wrapping Party the past couple years and it REALLY helps lessen some of the gift-wrapping (ahem) inequity in our house…
I go to my parents’ house for a slumber party to drink wine, wrap gifts & watch Christmas movies together while my husband manages the kids solo for a night – absolutely a win/win for us 🤝
If your spouse wraps the gifts – YAY, love that journey for you! – but if they don’t, you might as well make a party of it! Call (text!) your girls & get a date on the calendar – who you wrapping with this year?
7. Holiday Kids’ Plates
any and all meals will hereby be served on $3 unbreakable, dishwasher-safe holiday kids’ plates until further notice…. it’s just an easy win, big deal for the kids, no sweat off my back! I linked a bunch from $3+ in stories ❤️🥰🌲
8. Give mom quality time on the weekend
this isn’t necessarily holiday-specific but even MORE important at the holiday so if you don’t do this yet, give it a try now! here’s the deal… our weekends (and lives) go so much smoother when my husband gets all the kids out of the house at the same time so I can have some time to myself (without breaking up fights, opening an apple sauce, changing a diaper, insert annoying interruption here) to get the house picked up, laundry started, dishes running, week planned out – basically to just get my mind right for the week!
My husband is a huge Quality Time guy so weekends are family-time for him but this hour really helps make it easier to have QUALITY time over more time with a distracted/annoyed mom/wife 👹💁🏻♀️
Places he takes the kids to get them out of the house? Breakfast at a diner. The park. The grocery store. To run errands. Nothing fancy, just out the door.
I know having a willing & able spouse isn’t something everyone has so if you’re single parenting, I give you ALLLLLL the props & encouraging words – you’re doing great! ❤️
9. Holiday Card Display
steal my holiday card display! seriously takes under 5 minutes to ‘make’ and it’s a pretty inexpensive DIY! 😎
I linked the exact $8 garland I used + the clips $12 I added (with plenty leftover) in stories. just add the clips to the garland & add all the holiday cards from friends & family! I love being able to see them on display all season long – used our family cards on repeat to protect the innocent 🙃
Let me know if this is a DIY you can handle!
10. Outsource whatever doesn’t bring you joy
I might get some hate for it but one of the things that’s taken me YEARS to embrace is outsourcing the $hit that doesn’t bring me joy & just stresses me out ✌️ COULD I stuff my holiday card envelopes + put stamps on them? sure. could I pay a local teen $10 to do it for me? YUP. and, hi, supporting a kid with an entrepreneurial spirit is just good to the community, amiright!? 🙌
For real, if there’s something that just doesn’t fill your cup, there’s NO shame in outsourcing it! Get creative – it doesn’t always have to mean hiring a cleaning person or getting a meal delivered (although those are both ahhhmazingly helpful as well). Swap babysitting with a friend for a few hours. Hire the middle schooler to come play with your 3 year old while you make dinner.
Other things you can look into outsourcing:
• Gift shopping & wrapping – shopping would be a bit more involved but you could easily hire a teen (or professional!) to gift wrap for you!
• Cooking – you can order baked goods, prepped meals, meal kits (you know we love Home Chef!), charcuterie boards, even consider hiring a chef if you’re hosting vs catering or cooking
• Holiday decor – companies will actually decorate your home’s interior in addition to the ‘standard’ outdoor lighting companies
• Toy/gift assembly – have a bike or playhouse to assemble? You can hire it out! Taskrabbit allows you to hire by the hour.
• Shoveling snow and/or landscaping
• Errands – have returns? Need a last-minute gift? Maybe someone else can wait in line 🤷🏻♀️
Anything else you’ve outsourced around the holidays? Would love to hear!
11. Christmas Brunch Board
ditch the hot breakfast casserole (and it’s hour cook time ) on Christmas morning & toss together a colorful brunch board! ❤️💚🤍
I prep fruit & have everything in one spot in the fridge so that all I have to do in the Christmas morning melee is literally just dump everything onto a big wooden slab 🤣
my kids graze – they’re just too excited to eat anything BEFORE gifts and too hungry AFTER gifts so we need a ‘during’ situation for tiding them over!
12. Set a reminder to schedule family photos next year
I was today years old when I realized that future me would probably LOVE a little calendar reminder in August to schedule family photos to be taken in September so the photographer can return them to me in October so I can order my cards in November so I can send them at the last minute in mid-December 🤣
So – if you were also today years old when you realized that you can try to nip any ‘I should’ve done this XX ago’ situations in the bud by setting yourself some simple calendar events, double tap & open up your calendar app 🤝 📅
13. Get an instant mood boost w/ a Holiday Headband
it’s actually like 83% harder to be a BEAST 👹 when you’re wearing a holiday headband… instant mood boost! So pop on a red or green headband & boom! You’re basically a jolly elf now 🤶🏻
Also love that for less than $20, you have a fun statement holiday piece that fits no matter your size or shape AND it totally takes a basic outfit to festive AF in 3 seconds. I linked the ones I could (sorry, still no red velvet with green gems!) in stories ❤️🤝
14. Skip the DIY Garland if you need to
if you don’t have 3-5 hours to slow & low dehydrate oranges this December , get your clickin’ fingers ready & open up a fresh bag of dried oranges ready to string into a garland or use as little gift accents! 🍊
don’t get me wrong – I love the idea of DIYing these… your house smells great, it’s inexpensive & the organic texture oranges add around the house for the holidays is just the best! mad props to the original creator of this vid, @woodlark 😍 – if I were doing it myself this year, this is the tutorial I’d follow!
but NO shame in skipping the DIY game if it just doesn’t fit for you this year. amazon exists for a reason 🙃 so I’ll link these in stories!
dried orange slice decor: make or buy?!
and if you’re team “make” – maybe consider selling them for those of us on team “buy” 🤝
15. Holiday Light Phone Charger for a mood boost
how’s your holiday season going? TBH I’m bouncing between loving every minute & feeling completely overwhelmed so there’s that but this $7 holiday light phone charger is an easy mood boost 💃
I found it from my gf @simplyeveryblog + it’s linked in stories 🙌
16. Gift Bag Hack to level-up your gift-giving game
I saw this gift bag hack the other day (if it was you, please let me know – happy to credit!) & had to try it out… what do you think about it?! 👀
instead of just tossing a gift into the gift bag & covering it with tissue paper, you remove the handle from one side of the bag completely (just unthread it through the hole) & then string the handle from the opposite side of the bag through the empty holes.
this creates a one-handled gift bag with a mostly-closed top so you don’t have the awkward gaping hole of gift poking out from tissue paper 🤝
A subtle change but I think it elevates the gift bag overall – agree?
17. Set a calendar reminder for Elf on the Shelf to appear next year
if you’re an Elf family, do NOT forget to set a calendar reminder or note in your phone when the Elf bounces for the season – where does he (or she) live in the off season? (aka where did you put the damn thing 🤔) What’s it’s name? Family history? SSN? For real – if you’ve ever lost an Elf or forgotten where you hid it you’ll understand – this is the most important step of the whole charade
18. Make a little Holiday Card Book with all of those cards each year
I love love love seeing all our friends & family’s holiday cards hanging on our mantle in December and instead of trashing them in January, I punch a hole in the side of the cards & use a binder ring to make little holiday card books each year 🤩❤️
my kids love flipping through them and it’s so fun to see all the families change and grow year to year. easy & inexpensive!
h/t to @katiemcreshaw for this idea 💡
19. Give each kid a different wrapping paper for their Santa gifts
instead of wrapping our Santa presents & tagging them, we have a different wrapping paper for each child every year – none of the Santa gifts have name tags on them & no one knows which wrapping paper (and wrapped gifts) is/are actually theirs until they find the scrap piece of their wrapping paper at the bottom of their stocking!
I remember being sus about Santa’s handwriting as a kid 👀 and also this adds a little mystery to the excitement!
20. Not every holiday can be the best ever. And that’s ok.
ok, I wanted something epic for the last hack and it’s super simple and more of a reminder than a hack but I think it’s worth sharing that…
not every holiday can be the best ever. not every holiday can even be better than the last. and that’s ok.
this throwback photo from Christmas 2015 stopped me in my tracks and brought tears to my eyes
i was instantly taken back – our living room was a mess. ugly huge gate around the tree because the pictured toddler was an absolute ANIMAL whose sole mission in life that December was to take the tree to the GROUND. I had 2 under 3. I can’t remember a single good thing from the 2015 holiday season.
so if you’re in THAT holiday season for whatever reason, know it doesn’t last forever ❤️
I truly hope these mom hacks help you to work smarter and not harder during the holiday season! Bookmark this page for next year and make sure to follow me on Instagram @lovelyluckylife for even more mom hacks and fab finds all year long!