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Which Holiday Parenting Mistakes Will You Make?

With the holidays quickly approaching I thought it would be helpful to take a minute to provide a few reminders about reducing stress, as much as possible.  I think the phrase, “as much as possible” is the first critical phase in enjoying the holiday season.  Stress happens yearlong but intensifies throughout the holiday season and with retailers setting up their holiday displays earlier and earlier the level of stress is only escalating.  Long gone are the days of Thanksgiving being the holidays seasonal kick off, now Christmas lights are up by Halloween. This adds in another month of planning, attempts at avoiding the inevitable holiday rush and the constant bombardment of activities that disrupt your families’ schedules.  Attempting to minimize these disruptions will help to reduce the added stress.

If you find it hard to say no to your children, avoid taking them to the mall too often.  This cuts down on the inevitable battle of wills, whining and you left feeling drained and under appreciated. Instead set up a holiday schedule of events and build family traditions. This planning gives the children a feeling of being involved in their holiday event planning and gives them events to look forward to. This will deemphasize the build up to the “big day” and relieve a percentage of the stress that anticipation brings. From Pioneer Squares Tuba Christmas to sipping hot chocolate on Peacock Lane, a visit to Pittock Mansion, driving through PIR’s light show, or a snowshoe trip on Mt. Hood, these activities highlighted on the calendar will give your family an outing to enjoy together.  Be sure to plan in advanced for crowds, lines and small bladders.  Bring along games, drinks or sing carols in the car to pass the time.  These outings are designed to minimize holiday stress, not add to your stress level.  As a parent it is not always easy to live vicariously through the eyes and hearts of your children, this holiday season attempt to embrace your inner child and be in the moment with your family.

The link below is to an article from Psychology Today that touches on mistakes that parents make during the holiday season.  I hope there is a nugget or two of useful suggestions that may help you manage your holiday stress:


Happy Holidays


Holiday Events

Holiday Events Guide


If you are looking for some events to take in this holiday season, here is a list of some adult and family events that are sure to add to your holiday enjoyment :

Holiday Ale Festival Begins:

Dec. 4th –thru the 8th @Pioneer Courthouse Square $30 admission.

Brewery’s throughout the region will be bringing their special winter ales, enjoy a few favorites or try a new winter ale under the tent in Portland’s living room, Pioneer Courthouse Square.

(Please drink responsibly and call a cab if needed)


Santa Land Diaries:

Portland Center Stage. Enjoy the play adaptation of David Sedaris’s comedy.

Tickets are going fast.


Ugly Sweater Decorating Party:

Punch Bowl Social 340 SW Morrison St

Dec 7th 11 am

Ever wonder where your grandma got those unique holiday sweaters? This is

You chance to create your own “treasure”


Christmas Ship Parade:

Begins Dec 6th thru the 21st

59th annual Portland tradition.  Come to either the Willamette or Columbia rivers to enjoy this annual event.  Visit their website for the boats schedule. This is a fun event enjoyed either at a local restaurant over looking the river, the Spaghetti Factory is a great spot for this but go early to get a river view. Or take in the action first hand and rent a kayak or Stand Up Paddle Board.

Alder Creek Kayak 503-285-0464

or take a guided trip with a local outfitter.

Gorge Performance 503-246-6646

Dog Star Adventure Tours 503-427-8152


Christmas in old Europe Christmas Revels

Scottish Rite Center 1510 SW Morrison

Tickets run from $39 to $7

A great family tradition.  Join the Portland Revels for this entertaining evening of music and song.


Winter Solstice Celebration:

The Gift of Story Telling.

At University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History.

Dec 13th from 5 to 7pm

Admission is a can of food donated to Food for Lane County


Pinterest Craft Night

If a stay at home craft night sounds more fun, than visit for a million ideas for simple to intricate holiday ideas. Whether your craft flair aligns with Santa, Jesus, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Eid al-Adha or Winter Solstice there is sure to be an activity that your family can enjoy together.




This is a short list of activities to enjoy this holiday season.  Visit Travel Portland for more exciting holiday activities and Portland traditions.


Happy Holidays

Coping with Holiday Stress

The holidays are a wonderful time to spend with friends and family, but it can often be one of the most stressful times of the year.  Having a plan of how to deal with the stress is important to your holiday success.  Enjoy the time with the people you care about instead of getting caught up with the things that aren’t that important.  Below is an article that gives some great tips of how to decrease holiday stress and sadness. 


Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping

Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression.

By Mayo Clinic staff

The holiday season often brings unwelcome guests — stress and depression. And it’s no wonder. The holidays present a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name just a few.

But with some practical tips, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. You may even end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.

Tips to prevent holiday stress and depression

When stress is at its peak, it’s hard to stop and regroup. Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if the holidays have taken an emotional toll on you in the past.

1.       Acknowledge your feelings. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season.

2.       Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. They can offer support and companionship. Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.

3.       Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails or videos.

4.       Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations. Set aside grievances until a more appropriate time for discussion. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress and depression, too.

5.       Stick to a budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts. Try these alternatives: Donate to a charity in someone’s name, give homemade gifts or start a family gift exchange.

6.       Plan ahead. Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Plan your menus and then make your shopping list. That’ll help prevent last-minute scrambling to buy forgotten ingredients. And make sure to line up help for party prep and cleanup.

7.       Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.

8.       Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks. Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.

9.       Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Take a walk at night and stargaze. Listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.

10.   Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.