The holidays have historically been a time of great stress for our family. It’s no wonder. Take an already emotionally and physically overloaded child, add a mom working around the clock to try and figure out ways to help him cope, plus a husband trying to help her, and a little brother clamoring for some attention of his own.
Now add holiday travel with loud airports, sensory overloaded with smells, noise, lighting and sleep deprivation from needing to catch the early flight. Add the change in routine with the school break, visiting other houses, sleeping in other beds, seeing other people and their dogs.
Add the excitement, but also my son’s very real anxiety over the presents, what’s in them, when can we open them, now they are all open and it’s over and we need to transition out of holiday mode. What you get is a season, beautiful and powerful in it’s message, but also meltdown prone, stress ridden and it’s hard around here.
As we learn more and more about my son and his needs, we are learning more and more how to streamline our holidays. We focus on the true meaning of our celebration. Jesus, family, each other. We cling to a few small, but easy traditions, like watching certain movies every single year and making Christmas tree shaped pancakes on Christmas morning. Instead of adding to an already overloaded schedule, I am finding ways to keep holiday stress to a minimum – especially when it comes to gift buying. The last thing momma needs to do is to shop ’til she drops, buying all the things, wrapping all the things, delivering all the things, and cleaning up after all the things.
This year, I have been on the hunt for ways to give meaningful gifts that don’t make me a crazy person. One of my new favorites is Walmart Photo Books. I was given the opportunity this month to try their service and I jumped at it. Not just because I am terrible at ever getting any pictures actually printed (vs. uploaded to Facebook and completely forgotten). But because they offer SAME DAY pick-up in store. No joke. I can’t tell you how many times I have thought about doing something like this, but then realized that I need it the day after tomorrow and will never have the time to get it delivered. Transferring photos is a breeze. You can order online (again for same day pick-up – a drowning in all the holiday planning mom’s dream come true), or at the store itself. It’s quick and easy with the Fujifilm Kiosk Photo Transfer App, or you can just connect with the cable at the photo kiosk. ( Walmart) The photo book I created was an overview of our year. All my favorite pictures, all in one place. It is beautiful! I could not be more pleased. Best of all, the 8×11 photo book was $24. It is now $19.
I have been thinking about all the ways I could use this, and have come up with more than a few ideas.
- the obvious grandma never gets any pictures of us, loves to have them, but isn’t about to go online to see them
- a photo book for my son with all the pictures he has taken of various fish and aquariums
- a personalized social skills book complete with our real facial expressions and examples from our everyday life
I am all about anything that helps bring some calm to this chaos. I think this offer from Walmart Photo is a time and sanity saver that just makes sense for our unique life. Now, it’s your turn. What do you find helpful for navigating the holidays?
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.