Seven Tips to Make Your Holidays Merry and Bright When You Work From Home
The holidays are right around the corner. Regardless of which holidays you celebrate, the end of the year is full of merriment and fun. As a mom or a small business owner, creating that magic often falls to you. That can mean hectic schedules, straining to-do lists, and little time to rest. And, unlike other holidays that come and go in a day or so, the holiday season lasts weeks–stretching from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. So, having a plan to thrive through it is essential–especially when you work from home.
When you work at home, the holidays can feel extra tricky because you’ve now added “making holiday magic” to the list of things to do in the same place where you live and work.
The HireMyMom team knows this feeling well and has developed strategies over the years to make the season easier. Here are our best holiday tips to help you feel festive, get everything done, and keep all the balls in the air as you work and make holiday magic all from home.
Just like Santa, make a list
Early in the holiday season, map out all the things you want to do before you hear your last sleigh bell for the year. Include activities that you must do and things that you’d like to do in two different columns. As you make your list, talk with your family about what matters to them this season–the places they’d like to go, the traditions that are most important to them, and the activities that feel essential.
Having this roadmap will make it easier to allocate your time along the way and help ensure that you don’t leave anything undone. Knowing what you want to do vs. need to do can help reduce the frantic feeling that often comes as the holiday inches closer. And, having a clear view of these things makes it easier to manage your calendar.
Many Christmas carols romanticize the idea of stepping out on Christmas Eve morning to complete all Christmas shopping amid the hustle and bustle of festive shoppers. Clearly, these composers have never actually done this because Christmas shopping at the last minute is crazy town.
If you are shopping for holiday gifts this year, start early. The news is full of reports of shortages and shipping delays. Experts generally advise buying things as you see them. That advice matches our collective holiday experience as well. Waiting until the last minute adds to stress even in a typical year. As Christmas gets closer, the stores get more crowded, and you’ll feel more desperate. Shop early to avoid feeling the pinch that comes with having the shop at the end.
Also, for many businesses, Christmas Eve is a workday. With all your holiday prep complete, Christmas Eve morning can be an amazing day to get work done and let you sail into the holiday with a sense of serenity that you’ve expertly prepared for the holiday and knocked through a good portion of your work punch list.
Consider holiday break child care
Most schools and daycares will close for at least a portion of the holiday season, with public schools closing for about two weeks between Christmas and New Years Day. Plan for this time now. Look at your work obligations and see if you can take time off. If the answer is no, line up backup child care.
One of the many great things about the winter holiday season is that college students and older high school students are generally home and available to babysit. Take advantage of this season of plenty when it comes to childcare options.
Also, don’t feel bad if you need to arrange childcare to work on holiday chores or take some time for yourself during the season. It’s a hectic time of year, and having extra hands to carry the load will make the season more manageable and fun.
Re-think your schedule
As an experienced work-from-home professional, you likely have a routine that you follow each day. When the holidays arrive, you may need to be flexible with your days. Get ahead of this by doing some pre-planning.
For example, consider how you can tweak your workflow during the day to accommodate a noontime run to the store for some quick gift shopping. If you are hosting and need to work while you have guests, think about how you can flex your workday so that you can still visit. Look to early mornings and evenings, depending on your biorhythms and schedule.
Plan to cut a few corners
Holiday celebrations can come with a lot of pressure. It’s easy to find yourself doing things you don’t value or enjoy because it seems like you should do those things. But, your time is precious, and there’s no prize in January for enduring holiday tasks.
We find it easier to let some things go if we plan to cut a few corners in advance. Planning to take these shortcuts makes it more deliberate and not a decision made in desperation at the last minute, which can be stressful.
For example, if:
- You don’t have the time or desire to make a full Christmas dinner, order it from a restaurant or grocery store.
- You hate baking, plan to buy cookies at a bakery. If you want to decorate them with your kids, purchase undecorated sugar cookie cutouts and skip right to the fun part.
- You’d rather get a root canal than wrap presents, drop your gifts off at a wrapping fundraiser near you or pay the fee to have gifts wrapped at the store or by the shipper.
- You grow weary of addressing holiday card envelopes, order them pre-printed or make address labels.
Also, remember there are no rules for how you celebrate. If you or your family want frozen pizza and a movie night on New Year’s Eve, go for it. You are free to make the holiday plans that work for you.
Make time for you
With all the planning and working going on, it can be challenging to carve out time for you. Don’t skimp on this step. If you do, you run the risk of sliding into the big days exhausted and stressed out. Plan to see friends, get some exercise, treat yourself to a pedicure. Do things that let you unplug and savor the season.
If you are inclined to treat yourself to a holiday gift, may we suggest giving yourself the gift of a coach?
HireMyMom’s Mastermind & Coaching programs can help bring out the best in your business and your life. It’s specifically tailored for moms who want to work and home and find professional success without sacrificing family time. We think it’s the perfect holiday gift.
Bring some merry into your space and work-life
If you’re new to working at home, you may find that you miss the holiday fun and rituals common in offices. Check out these ideas for capturing some of that fun from your home office.
Drop us a line and tell us how you celebrate the holidays from home. Share the tricks you use to make the season more manageable and more joyful.