Surviving the Holidays!

As much as some people look forward to the holiday season, others associate it with exhaustion. How can we all survive the holidays?


Who’s entertaining this year? Going back to your hometown for two days of Christmas festivities? For the time being, you’ll be the town’s own celebrity. It will be hard to meet up with old friends who still live in the area, and then if we do find the time to see one of them, what will the others say? You’ll also be asked to visit your in-laws, your grandmother, and cousins who’ve also just had a baby. Where will you finish the evening? In the middle of family feuds, walking on eggshells all night to avoid getting in between auntie Beth and uncle John’s argument? Whoa! What a disheartening picture! Fortunately, there are other alternatives to enjoy the Christmas magic!

If your family lives far away, why not take turns in hosting the Christmas party? One year you’ll go to your in-laws who live hours away, and the following year they’ll come to your place.

Surround yourself with people you love and respect everyone’s choices. After all, your aunt Beth probably doesn’t even want to spend Christmas with the whole family if it always ends in a fight.


Meat pies, turkey, doughnuts, cookies in Christmassy little shapes, etc. I just gained 5 pounds by writing this! Who said that the hostess had to prepare all of this by herself? Your family will be happy to help by bringing something to the party. In anticipation of what’s coming, make your freezer your new best friend, where you’ll store all your desserts and snacks! There’s a multitude of prepared foods in grocery stores. Mom’s traditional cookie recipe is irreplaceable? Organize a girls’ night and cook yourselves crazy! It will be fun and you’ll get a lot done!

If the idea of having the little ones celebrate until the wee hours of the morning turns you off, you can opt for a brunch, which is a lot more fun for kids.

John hates onions, Mary is vegetarian and Nick is allergic to nuts... You can’t please everyone! Make sure that you have a variety of dishes, from appetizers to desserts. Everyone should find something they like, and if not, well, it’s just too bad!


Last-minute shopping? No thanks for me! Take advantage of sales year-round and you’ll be able to find things for your loved ones at a decent price. Keep everything in a secret cupboard at home until the big day. Wanting to find the perfect gift, the one thing that will please and be remembered for years is probably the most stressful part of Christmas preparations. Don’t give yourself a headache! It's often the little touches that remain in people’s hearts the longest. For example, wrap a gift in a hand-painted box that can be reused.

Do you have a hard time finding gift ideas for kids on behalf of others (grandparents, uncles, aunts)? Open a bank account for education or other activities and ask for money instead of presents. For the younger ones, little cars or dolls will always be a big hit!


Ice skating, sliding, snowshoeing, playing outside? The important thing is to enjoy family time. Preparing the holiday season in advance will allow you to enjoy life’s little pleasures when the time comes. In my opinion, these family moments where we enjoy the outdoors and the pleasures of winter are what makes Christmas so magical. Stop running around trying to please everyone. Start by creating the perfect Christmas for you, and there are good chances that the magic will appear by itself and spread around you. Avoid everything that is stressful and concentrate on what really matters to you. That's how you’ll survive the holidays!

Claudie Arsenault

Claudie Arsenault is a professional coach in balancing work and family, author of Conciliation travail-famille : Y trouver son compte et son bonheur and founder of Coopérative du Cercle des supermamans. Coaching is there to help people achieve their goals quickly and efficiently. Claudie was trained  by the school Coaching de gestion (management coaching) and is accredited by the International Coach Federation. Her unique niche is what sets her apart. She helps parents manage their return to work, improve their work-life balance, rethink their career path after the arrival of children, develop or start their business while maintaining a balance. Being a mother of three, she knows a thing or two about work-life balance! Helping parents find a balance between their professional and personal lives is a real passion for her. To find out more, visit her website (in French only).

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