Once the calendar flips to November, it sure feels like we’re on a sleigh ride down a steep hill quickly cruising past Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. It’s as if time speeds up around this season and we’re barely able to catch our breath before it rushes past us like a frigid blast of air.

As parents, we want to accomplish so much — get the holiday shopping done within budget, get to spend quality time with family during Thanksgiving, and take a long refresher during Christmas break. Plus, we want to get all of our preparations, cleaning, and shopping done early so that we can relax, enjoy the fun, and make some long-lasting memories with our families.

But it’s difficult to do it all. Since we’re on the cusp of the most family-friendly and rewarding yet hair-raising and stress-inducing time of the year, maybe a deep breath and toasty cocktail will come in handy. These tips will help, too.

1. Map it Out

If you don’t already, create a calendar and set realistic goals to accomplish what you need to get done.  Do you need to decorate your house for your annual Thanksgiving party? Do you need to get a shopping list in order? Those things should happen soon. Find a workable schedule, map it out, and promise to keep it. Try to figure out what you’ll need to buy, and how much work will go into each endeavor.

2. Hand Off Tasks

There’s no way that you can get all the things done that you want to get done over the next two months on your own.

Let’s dig into the details. There are umpteen events at your children’s schools. There are decorations to find and set up. There are gifts to buy, charitable events to attend, and parties to host. You will have to make meals, volunteer at church, and coordinate your family’s activities, too. Oh yeah, and work, and accomplish all of your other chores and duties.

You will need a strong and committed spouse (and some responsible kids) to pitch in. Don’t be afraid to ask and don’t be afraid to ask often. In fact, it might be a good idea to sit the family down now, discuss what lies ahead and what’s on everyone’s to-do list and get a handle on the family’s needs, in general.

3. Tamp Down Expectations

It’s good to have goals, but it’s also good to be realistic. Thinking of making homemade gingerbread houses for each of children’s teachers? Yeah, maybe that’s a bit more than you can handle. Thinking of hand-crafting a “Santa and His Reindeer” set for the front lawn? Maybe you should start on that next January. If you create reasonable expectations for your holiday experiences over the next three months, you’ll be in much better shape.

4. Schedule Some Relaxation

This time of year is stressful. Even though it’s a thrill to see friends and family, enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday, and shop, there are so many stressors. From money concerns to family issues, it can be a burden to hop onboard the Holiday Express and make it through unscathed. To that end, give yourself a breather. On that busy calendar, make sure that you give yourself enough of a breather to regroup, refresh, and reinvigorate yourself after each holiday before attacking the next one.

5. Be Positive

Everything will get done. Or it won’t. It’s that simple. You’ll try your best and if people judge you, so what? This is a time of year for charity, understanding, inclusion, and togetherness. Make those words your personal mantra and it’s guaranteed to be a happy, memorable holiday season no matter what.

More Holiday Tips: 

Tips to Getting the Tree Up With Minimum Stress

How to Survive the Holidays with Your In-Laws

Please join @ParentingSquad on FacebookTwitterInstagramGoogle+, and Pinterest. Have a funny, touching, or interesting story to share about your family? Email us at Editor (at) ParentingSquad.com.