12 Wise Tips on How Moms Can Survive the Holiday Season (from Moms Who Know!)

By Alice Gomstyn

Keep your sanity intact (while keeping a sense of humor) with real-life tips from moms who have learned how to handle the chaos of the holiday season.

Is the holiday season, a simple, stress-free part of your year? If so, stop reading now. (Also: Who ARE you?)

If you’re like me, however, you could use a little bit of guidance to weather all the cooking, present-giving and extended family-togetherness that are a wonderful and/or panic attack-inducing staple of the holiday season. So I turned to the experts, a group of bloggers and my fellow contributors to the new e-book, Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays, an anthology of hilarious but also helpful essays on keeping your sanity intact during this most special time of year.

Here are these wise women’s top tips for holiday survival:

“Lower your expectations. Think National Lampoon’s holiday rather than Hallmark.”
— Kathryn Leehane of Foxy Wine Pocket

“Buy plenty of toilet paper. At an in-law’s, I had to use coffee filters to wipe. Not so soft on your precious lady parts!”
— Janie Emaus of JanieEmaus.com

“Make sure your 22-pound turkey is defrosted BEFORE you wake up Thanksgiving morning. This will save you having to rapid defrost it in the bathtub.”
— Christine Burke of Keeper of The Fruit Loops

“Always keep a sober driver wingman on hand for last-minute shopping trips for the ingredients you forgot.”
— Amy Hunter of The Outnumbered Mother

“Remember that your mother-in-law probably once had to make Thanksgiving dinner for HER mother-in-law. Remind her, if necessary.”
— Robyn Passante of Holding The Strings

“Wine. Ice cream. Breathe. Wine. Ice cream. Breathe. Repeat.”
— Alisa Schindler of Ice Scream Mama

“Make sure your kids are really, really asleep before putting out the Santa gifts. In the event you are busted, have a well-thought-out explanation. ‘Santa died’ = not recommended.”
— Hannah Mayer of sKIDmarks

“For Hanukkah, have each kid decorate his own “Hanukkah Bag” (any paper grocery bag will do). That way, it doubles as a craft project and as a way to circumvent wrapping presents for eight nights in a row.”
— Jennifer Simon, @NoSleepInBklyn

“Don’t worry if your kids have terrible table manners at dinner, refuse to sing carols with the family and rip through every single gift without saying ‘thank you’ one time — because you planned ahead and invited your cousin whose kids are ALWAYS worse than yours.”
— Amanda Mushro of Questionable Choices in Parenting

“If you’re pregnant, take lots of pictures. I know, I know. Your face is bloated! You’re in that awkward is-she-pregnant-or-did-she-just-eat-a-big-burrito phase! You’re not wearing your fancy heels and your sweater is showing your back fat! But take lots of pictures anyway, because you will want to remember how you looked one day, and maybe have a photo to pass on to your son or daughter. ”
— Alessandra Macaluso of Punkwife.com

“It’s OK if you forget to pack the kids’ underwear, the gift you bought your husband, or anything else on your list, as long as you never, ever forget to bring a sense of humor to each and every family function, holiday trip, or hostessing duties.”
— Kim Bongiorno of Let Me Start By Saying

“Repeat after me: ‘They go back to school in January. They go back to school in January…'”
— Vicky Willenberg of The Pursuit of Normal

Want more holiday survival strategies? Check out this e-book. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project, an annual effort to provide Thanksgiving meals to hundreds of families in need.

About the Author

Alice Gomstyn has been a reporter and writer for more than a decade, covering beats ranging from business to parenting for national websites and metropolitan newspapers including ABCNews.com, NBCNews.com, Babble.com, The Boston Globe and The Providence Journal. Gomstyn is a graduate of Dartmouth College.