Five ways to find more time during the holidays

Nov 16, 2022


It’s the most wonderful time of the year – but it can quickly feel like the most hectic, leaving your family running from event to event, all while continuing to juggle your daily commitments of school, work and more. All the hustle and bustle can leave us craving more connection and more memories to cherish.

These five strategies can help if you always seem to end the holiday season wishing you had more time for the things that you value most. Try them out this year and take a few moments to breathe, be present and truly enjoy the holiday spirit.

1. Put together-time on the calendar

Before saying yes to every invitation that comes your way, block out time on your calendar for yourself and for the people who matter most. You don’t necessarily need to know how you’ll spend the time (see tip two for some inspiration!), but it will help to make sure that you don’t let another holiday party take priority over making memories with your family or closest friends. You can always shift the time to another day if an opportunity comes in that you don’t want to miss. Experts at this strategy will also schedule me-time to ensure they get to carve out some calm for themselves when life is at its busiest.

2. Create a holiday to-do list

No, we’re not suggesting a never-ending list that will have you stressing about checking every box before you can put your feet up. Instead, think of this as your priority list: the things you and your family would choose to do if you had a free hour or two.

Toward the beginning of December, sit down and build your list together. Perhaps you want to make sure to do a holiday movie marathon, play a favorite game or just decorate the tree while listening to Christmas music. But don’t feel any pressure to do everything – these items can also fill a free day in January or February, or even serve as inspirations for a summer activity. This list is also helpful as a reminder of your personal priorities if you feel pressure from seeing how other people are spending their holidays while scrolling social media.

3. Order-in (or eat out!) without guilt

It wouldn’t be Christmas without those special and often nostalgic dishes. But while it might be worthwhile to spend the time to recreate Grandma’s classic entrée, spending hours in the kitchen making each side from scratch means less time with other activities. If you don’t enjoy cooking or if you can’t convince your family to join you in the kitchen, it can free up time and energy to order from a local grocery store or caterer. And while sitting around the table together is one of the things we treasure during the holidays, it doesn’t have to be at your dining room table! A dinner out can be just the break everyone needs, and it doesn’t come with any dishes.

4. Give thoughtfully - and digitally

Start by curating your gift list. Think about who you want to find the perfect present for, and who can receive a gift you can buy in larger quantities – think candles, tins of popcorn or coffee mugs – and then buy extras. That will keep you from visiting multiple stores the night before your child needs to bring a gift to her teacher. And don’t shy away from digital gifts. Perhaps your adventurous nephew would like a digital gift card to an outdoor store, or your grandma would like a gift certificate to print and frame a family photo from an online photo shop. These gifts are often just an email away and can easily be “dressed up” for in-person giving with a small item like a themed ornament and a special card.

5. Make your health a priority

It may seem obvious, but when you put your health last, everything is harder except catching the latest cold to circulate through the office. Dedicating time to your health will pay off in the long run as you have more energy for all the things you enjoy. Some top tips:

  • Aim for six to eight hours of sleep each night to recharge for the next busy day.
  • Balance rich holiday dishes with healthy choices. Think about what foods help you feel your best and fill your plate with them before indulging in the other mouthwatering options.
  • Continue to exercise — maybe this is a chance to go on a walk with a friend instead of visiting the gym, giving you connection time as well as movement!
  • Don’t ignore signs of sickness. It’s better to rest up for an evening or to book an appointment with your primary care provider than to miss out on all the fun while spending multiple days sick in bed.