Is it even possible to avoid the rush during the holiday season? It all depends on your priorities. A little planning will help you avoid the rush and the breathless, worn-out feelings that hit you with a sledgehammer on New Year’s Day. #holiday #stress #rush #peace

Is it even possible to avoid the rush during the holiday season? It all depends on your priorities. A little planning will help you avoid the rush and the breathless, worn-out feelings that hit you with a sledgehammer on New Year’s Day.

This post is part of the Five-Minute Friday quick write hosted by Kate Moutang. Join us each Thursday night on Twitter (#FMFParty) for fun and fellowship, then grab a pen and start writing when the prompt goes live!

Is it even possible to avoid the rush during the holiday season? It all depends on your priorities. A little planning will help you avoid the rush and the breathless, worn-out feelings that hit you with a sledgehammer on New Year’s Day. #holiday #stress #rush #peace

The Rush Starts Before Thanksgiving

“Let’s drive out to Dog Valley and get a Christmas tree,” Pedro said the first day of our visit to Reno.

“I don’t know,” I answered. “We have a lot to do today, and I don’t know if the Forest Service office will still be open when we’re done with our list.”

For the next four hours, we slogged through slushy parking lots, visiting store after store and stocking up on needed items for his parents. While the fond memories of Christmas tree hunting in the past tugged at me, we had come to Reno to help his aging parents.

While everyone else braved the newly-fallen snow to score deep discounts the day after Thanksgiving, Pedro slept in and I went for a walk with a friend from our Reno days. The sun shining on the snow reminded me of how much our family enjoyed driving on roads no one had ventured on yet.

As soon as I sat down to breakfast I said, “Let’s go get a permit and go on a tree hunt!” That’s all it took to convince Pedro.

We tossed some food in a cooler in case we needed to eat a meal in the mountains, dropped by to get our permit, and headed into the mountains.

While everyone else shopped until they dropped, we drove until we chopped. The snow coated the trees with fluffy white caps while the sun and breeze conspired to toss diamonds in the air. We passed dozens of fellow tree-hunters.

The Perfect Tree Requires a No-Rush Approach

As lunchtime approached, we had passed dozens of potential trees. “No one’s driven up that road!” I said, pointing to our right. Pedro stopped to let me out.

I sprinted up the road to video his foray on the perfect snow to share with our daughters. Afterward, we pulled into a nice spot and had a picnic lunch in the sunshine before wandering around looking for the perfect tree. Neither of us felt in a rush to just pick any tree—the experience felt more important than actually getting a tree.

By the time we found our tree, chopped it down, and loaded it into the truck, we both felt a bit giddy—we haven’t gone tree-hunting in eight years. Reminiscing about camping trips, tree-hunting, and our daughters’ early years filled our conversations.

How to Avoid the Rush

Our tree-hunting experience helped me remember the most important way to avoid the rush during the holiday season—communication. Deciding as a family what to do and what values or experiences we hold dear keeps us from signing up to do too much.

Is it even possible to avoid the rush during the holiday season? It all depends on your priorities. A little planning will help you avoid the rush and the breathless, worn-out feelings that hit you with a sledgehammer on New Year’s Day. #holiday #stress #rush #peace

Our daughters and their families will visit during the holidays, and that means hours of playing games—Settlers of Catan, Dutch Blitz, Uno, Rook, and other games will occupy our evenings after our grandson goes to bed.

If my parents and sister come for a few days, we’ll just set up more tables for games and squeeze more cooks into the kitchen. During the day we’ll bake and cook together and take turns toddler wrangling.

If you haven’t had a good chat with your family about taming the rush that surrounds the holidays, it’s not too late. Find out what each person enjoys, and plan to do that activity together as a family. Not because everyone loves that event or activity, but because doing things together as a family builds memories and moments.

Those memories and moments create the fabric of family that holds us close during the hard times. Ditch the unimportant things, and you won’t feel the rush. Slow down and enjoy the serendipitous moments and the memories they evoke. Take time to revisit or create new holiday traditions.

The holiday season shouldn’t leave you breathless from the rush, it should leave you breathless from the wonder. #FMFparty #holidays #family Click To Tweet

{Check out last Sunday’s post on The Gift You Need to Give Yourself During the Holidays and come back each Sunday this month for more tips on keeping sane during the holidays!}

10 Comments

  1. There was a time, long ago,
    when I thought I’d just slow down;
    take it easy, take the flow,
    and my friends began to frown.
    They didn’t like the new me,
    didn’t like it, not one bit,
    because they began to see
    that I’d begun to quit.
    My cheerful manic manner
    was sometimes hard to bear
    but still it was a banner
    they didn’t want to tear.
    So now back to the old refrain,
    “Oh, dear God, not HIM again.”

  2. The tree hunt sounds like fun! And communication definitely helps – it can be tempting to try to do it all, but much better to figure out what traditions actually matter most to people.

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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