Avoiding the Holiday Hangover: Doing More of Less


holiday hangoverAhhh, the holidays… I rush around in an attempt to capture all the holiday magic, floating from activity to activity, making every second count. Then *POOF,* I wake up exhausted with little memory of what just happened. In stark contrast to my college years, I have a hangover that has nothing to do with booze. {Womp. Womp.} It’s a HOLIDAY Hangover.

I’m drained.

I’m broke.

I’m 5 pounds heavier (here’s looking at you, New Year’s Resolution).

And at some point I’m sick with the Memphis Crud, because somebody brought the gift that keeps on giving into my house. 

December always sneaks up on me, and I feel the “hurry up and wait” sentiment creep in before I finish digesting my leftover turkey. I get an overwhelming feeling that I’m already behind, before I even have a chance to think about how this is my most favorite holiday of the whole year.

My antibiotic-laced mind goes into overdrive.

For heavens sake, it’s barely December, yet everywhere from Target to Starbucks to the grocery store tells me I’m already late to the party.

Holiday family pictures always suck the life out of me. Between the bribes, threats, and roller coaster of emotions invoked attempting to get five people to look at the camera and smile simultaneously, all I want is a picture of my family together not crying.

Welcome to Crazy Town, AKA December.

As a mom, it just feels like too much. I wonder why the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” causes me so much stress. Where’s the Christmas carol about that?

This year, I had an epiphany that I’ll credit to my antibiotic cocktail. It was brilliantly simple: I’m the boss of my crazy. I allow the chaos to rule, by making what I should do more important than what I want to do. #PeoplePleaserProblems

I have been jolly on the outside, at parties and functions; but at home, I’ve been so darn worn out that I’m no good for anything. This holiday, I’m refining that. I’m scaling back. 

I’m going to do more of less. That stuff that causes the stress? It’s getting kicked to the curb. 

It starts with the holiday cards. I’m nixing what inevitably turns into a very expensive 20-minute family argument through fake smiles. AND I won’t have to keep track of how many weeks that my kids get grounded from the X box. More of less.

We aren’t going to see Santa. At this point, I have only two Believers, and the third is totally unimpressed by the jolly old fella. I’m over it. Sorry, Third Kid. More of less.

I’m not rearranging the ornament clusters on the tree to make it look like it belongs in Southern Living. I’m fighting the urge (the struggle is very real) for symmetry. Iinstead I’m embracing a tree that looks like we decorated it while blindfolded. I’ll miss that one day. More of less.

I am admitting that I’m an Elf on the Shelf failure. I like sleep more than I like the Elf. To you moms who rock the Elf thing, I salute your creativity. But this year, no Elf. No apologies. More of less.

I’m intentionally scaling back the chaos and the pretenses of what I should be doing, and I’m focusing on what I want to do. I’m doing what makes me feel more fulfilled, so that I’m saving my best for those most important to me. More of less.

I’m doing more of the small things, like staying in bed an extra 30 minutes to snuggle with my babies – even as that pile of laundry glares at me. More of less.

I’m taking a stay-cation instead of traveling. It’s infinitely more relaxing to spend the those extra “travel days” lounging around with the kids.  Jammies all day? Yes, please. More of less.

The bottom line is that holiday chaos isn’t a given : I can contribute to the Holiday Hangover or I can create joy. 

This year, I’m saying no to the holiday hangover. 

I am choosing what’s most joyful for me. 

More of less.




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Jeanie is a perfectly imperfect mama, transplanted to Cordova fresh out of graduate school. She and her husband, Matt, had no intent on making Memphis “home” – but ten years later, they’re still here (and love it!). They have three saucy gingers, along with three “fur babies”. Between homeschooling and chairing graduate Psychology departments online, life is never boring in the Whinghter house. It’s no surprise that Jeanie fancies coffee, but she also loves bargain shopping and embarrassing her children with her questionable singing/dancing skills. She’s had more #PinterestFails that she can count and has perfected the art of giving a good pep talk (watch out, puberty!). Motherhood has slowly transformed her into the “uncool” Mom she thought she’d never be, yet she’s never felt cooler or more content with her life.