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How I Delegate Holiday Preparations to My Family

The Holidays Stressed Me Out — Until I Started Delegating Some of the Prep Work

Girl child tying decorative objects on christmas tree

The holidays are a busy time for everyone. There are presents to be purchased and wrapped, decorations to be hung, desserts to be baked, and holiday parties galore. While I find most of this to be fun and festive, when all of the planning is piled up onto one person (ahem, me), they can get swamped. When this happens, all of the holiday joy is sapped out of the season. But over the years, I've learned that this just is no way to live. So, I take it upon myself to delegate a lot of the holiday hustle to others in my family. Trust me, it's worth it.

Let's start with the person in the family who's the happiest to help with anything: Grandma. My mother helps me out immensely with the holiday shopping for my children. We spend Christmas Eve at my parent's house, so our kids wake up to Santa visiting my parent's home. My mom loves shopping for her only two little grandchildren. Usually, she takes to the internet and spoils them rotten (I mean, Santa spoils them rotten). But because she buys more of their gifts, I don't have to worry. The only items I usually add to their haul are some books and art supplies — something I love doing anyway.

Next on the list is my husband. Frankly, I should have brought him on board much sooner than I did. I'm not sure why I felt like I had to handle most of the holiday planning all alone, but either way, he's a huge help now. My husband does most of the shopping for his side of the family. He knows them best, after all. He also organises our annual adopt-a-family gifts. We shop for the gifts as a family, but he gets the list, wraps the presents, and drops them all off. He's also in charge of the ever-important holiday budget (if it were up to me, it'd be a mess). So, my husband gets out his trusty Excel spreadsheet and we go over how much to spend on each person and category. It's proven to be a gigantic help, in every regard.

Finally, my kids (ages 5 and 7 now) are growing into big helpers, too. Their biggest job is wrapping gifts. Thankfully, I'm not a perfectionist, so I don't care if there are gobs of tape or crinkled corners on the gifts we give. They do their best, and that's good enough for me. Plus, people always seem delighted to get a gift that's been wrapped by the kids. And as most kids do, mine love feeling involved and helping out. We turn on some Christmas music, I hand over the tape, scissors, and wrapping paper, and away they go.

Our favourite tradition as a family is decorating the house because everyone helps with that. My husband digs out the bins buried in the basement, and my kids rip the lids off. They place the Santa figurines in their designated spots and help hang the lights on the bushes outside. Grandma even comes over to help decorate the tree — my kids' favourite part of the decorating tradition. They watch Grandma in all her glory and hand her the perfect ornament for the right spot on the tree. They hang some, too, of course, usually in the lower corners of the tree where their tiny hands can reach. No, my home does not look Instagram perfect, but I don't care because my children are helping, and more importantly, making holiday memories.

One responsibility is typically left solely to me (and only because I have a more flexible schedule) — all of the holiday parties and special occasions for the kids. But I don't mind that at all. I love floating into my kids' school to help build gingerbread houses, or dressing up for the fun holiday gatherings. Not only does it put me in the holiday spirit, but I love being involved in their education. Sure, other things end up falling on my shoulders, like ordering the last-minute Walgreen's photos for Aunt Betty. But because I delegate so many other things out, these small to-dos don't stress me out anymore.

It's been so important that I assign holiday jobs to other family members. Not only does it save my sanity, but it teaches those in my immediate family to help, too. And all that partaking in the holiday hoopla actually puts everyone in a jollier spirit. Isn't that the goal? To put a little jingle in our hearts? So, I encourage you to try assigning some of the holiday tasks to others this year. It just might make you merrier.

Image Source: Getty / Martin Novak
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