Eat Sensibly and Take Care of Yourself
This is not the time to skimp on sleep or turn to junk foods. They are an unhealthy and expensive solution. Plan ahead by cooking meals that can be made in double batches, such as stews, soups, and casseroles. Freeze the second batch, add a salad, and you'll have a nutritious meal ready to serve.
If you need to buy gifts try to shop by yourself. It really does go faster and there’s less stress. Protect yourself from overdoing things. It doesn't do anything for your disposition, your family, or your work to feel over-committed and under-appreciated.
Make Lists and Set Limits
If you've got a long list of adults and children to buy gifts for, make a list for adults, and another for the children. If the list of adults is too long, think about drawing names so that each adult buys only one item and gets only one item. That way the gift giving ritual can be more appropriately focused on the kids.
Keep in mind that advertisers target your great/grandchildren, who will want everything that is marketed to them. However, it’s a good idea for you to make a list and a holiday spending budget, and stick to it. Remember to check with the parents as to what is OK and what is off-limits.
If you decide to make purchases online, be aware of the expensive shipping costs, especially when you have waited to order closer to the holiday. However, many online sites offer free shipping (with a minimum purchase) and you might find it more effective than dealing with driving or using public transportation to a mall.
The Holiday Spirit
The holidays are a good time to help your great/grand children understand the importance of sharing with those in need. Think about the gifts that the children can make and give: cards, gift wrapping, baking cookies, etc. There are many charities that collect toys, food and clothes for those who are less fortunate or have survived a disaster. Check with the parents about possible gifts the children can make or give to deliver to a charity of their or your choice. Police and Fire Stations are also very thankful for homemade goodies the children can make.
Also, kids are NEVER too young to write or draw “Thank-You” notes. Have some blank card/paper ready to go, for the younger kids, and ask them to draw a “thank-you picture”. The older children can write a short “thank-you” note. The cards go a long way: children learn some basic courtesy skills, and the recipient of the card feels gratified.
Children Shopping For Others
If you become the person in charge of helping the children buy for others, we still like the $.99 Store solution that we have touted before for Mothers’ Day (see: 99 Cents for Mother’s Day http://grandparentingplus.blogspot.com/2012_05_01_archive.html). Another idea would be to take your phone/camera, or have the parents take a phone/camera, to a toy store, sporting goods store, animal shelter or other favorite places to purchase gifts, and have the children take pictures of what each one “could not live without”. Be sure each photo shows the shelf price and name of the item. When finished, you’ll have a “virtual catalog”, which you can share with other family members who need to buy gifts. You may even be able to find the same things online or cheaper at other stores, if you have the time and inclination to bargain shop. Again, make sure to check out all the children’s choices with the parents, before buying anything.
Have Sensible Expectations
If the family will be spending extended time at your home during these days, have some pre-planned activities to do with the children. (see: A Few Of Our Favorite Things http://grandparentingplus.blogspot.com/2010_11_01_archive.html), Above all, remember, some of the stress at this time of year can come from trying to do too much. Make this a time to share with your family and friends, by planning, prioritizing and being kind to yourself.