How to stay focused on family during the holidays - homemaking experts weigh in

Ahh, the holidays.

There’s so much to do. So many people to visit. Countless traditions to keep up with. A whole stack of favorite recipes to bake.

And suddenly, what was supposed to be a family-focused time to be grateful for the important things in our lives has turned into a stressful, complicated circus.

It doesn’t have to be so crazy though.

Instead of only sharing what I’ve learned about the holidays through the years, I’ve invited another 10 homemaking experts to help uncover exactly how to make the holidays the beautiful time of year they should be.

Be sure to check out the introductions post to read more about all of the homemaking experts and to visit their websites.

How can homemakers stay track and focused on family during the holidays, when there’s so much holiday-related stuff to do?

Emily Chapelle –


I’ve found that if there’s so much holiday-related stuff to do that it’s becoming stressful instead of fun, it’s time to cut some of the activities and plans from our agenda.

During the holidays, we carve out and protect some time that’s just for us, without visits or outside obligations. We stay home on the actual holiday, make chocolate pancakes for breakfast, stay in our pajamas for as long as we want to, and enjoy each other’s company. Simple is good.

Laura Wittmann –


When the feelings of overwhelm start to kick in, as they are sure to do, my list of 8 frazzle fighters might be of help to you.

Joshua Becker –


Francine Jay once said, “My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.”

This should be our theme for the holidays. What are our top priorities? Take the time to define them clearly. Say them out loud.

Then, what “holiday-related stuff” can we eliminate to make sure they remain our top priorities? We always have the ability to choose. Unfocused busyness is never the wisest choice.

Courtney Carver –


Realize that most of the “stuff to-do” is unnecessary.

Instead of a big neighborhood party at your place that costs hundreds of dollars and hours of time, try a walk around the neighborhood with your family watching the snow fall.

Becky Rapinchuk –


Don’t be afraid to say no.  You don’t have to do everything and be everywhere – choose your top 3-5 things and just do those.  Forget the rest and have no regrets about it.

If you have kids they will appreciate you being present in the season versus trying to do everything and be everywhere.

Jen Jones –


First, try to limit how much you are taking on in the first place, however, a little hustle and bustle is always inevitable.

I love to use a binder that keeps my entire holiday season organized, with a three month calendar and a variety of checklists for each type of task (entertaining, travel, gifts, baking, general to-do’s, shopping trips, contact lists for greeting cards, etc…).  The binder keeps everything related in one easy to access place.

Andrew Mellen –


Stay focused on what you value. Dig in with your family and review the family’s values. The holidays are a perfect time to do some core value exercises as a family and really explore what is important to each individual and to the family unit as a whole.

Knowing what is important to you will keep you grounded and steady instead of distracted and reacting to every so-called urgency. Don’t throw your values out the window and get lost in something that is in opposition to those values for a month and then scramble to get back on track January 1.

Rachel Maser –


Each year my family’s holiday plans have become more simple. I find the most enjoyment in the smaller traditions. I’m learning that by choosing 2-3 traditions to focus on (and keep) it’s so much more meaningful & memorable than trying to incorporate 20 new (cool sounding) traditions each season.

Our holiday timeline has been the same for the past few years, and it is focused on family & simplicity.

Danielle Smith –


In this case, I recognize we occasionally need to let things go. It is impossible for us to be everywhere, to have EVERY amazing holiday experience, to please everyone.

Sometimes it is as simple as scrapping the event that was worrying you and sitting down with your family for a holiday-themed movie night. Choosing to put the focus back on your family can help you to re-center.

Beau Coffron –


To stay on track and focused on family? Schedule, Schedule, Schedule. Write it down or use one of the myriad of apps available.

Jen Hadfield –


I think being organized is always the best way to have a stress-free time during the holidays. I have a planner and I write down all of the things I need to get done each week. It helps me stay on track.

If you stay on schedule it makes less stress, and frees up time for the important things like spending time with your family and doing the family traditions which make such great memories.


Check out All of the Homemaking Experts Holiday Panel’s Q&A Posts:

Q&A 1: How to Prepare for the Holidays (Without Losing Your Mind)

Q&A 2: Prepare for the Holidays by doing this ONE thing Well Ahead of Time

Q&A 3: Holiday Preparation – Are You Making This Mistake? 

Q&A 4: How to Stay Focused on Family During the Holidays

Q&A 5: How to Manage the Holiday Gift Influx

Q&A 6: Homemaking Experts: Top Gifts to Give (& Their Wish Lists)

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