The 4th Day: Holiday Survival Guide

Holiday Survival Guide

Holiday Survival Guide by oykristen // 1. Comfy Clothes // 2. Google Drive // 3. Trifecta of Beverages // 4. Sleep 5. Crossing something off "The Long List" // 6. GET OFF PINTEREST //

Holiday Survival Guide.

Oh Monday. Why hello to you.

It's a terrible thing, but this is usually the "crunch" time of the holiday season where it sets in: the intense stress. It's the Monday before Christmas. I have the 4th day (and later, the 3rd day) of Christmas posts for you today. And I'm have flashbacks to the scenes of frantic, anxiety-laden Whoville shoppers in Jim Carry's version of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". How will we ever get it all done. How how how. Is that question playing a little dance in your mind today? I bet it started late last night... Sunday nights tend to bring on the worries of the week. 

I've been thinking a lot about how to combat stress, how to enjoy the season, and how to not be consumed by, well, all the consumption. It's a challenge. But there are a few things that have helped me over the past few weeks, and I wanted to share them with you in case they're helpful in this last stretch before Christmas arrives.

1. Comfy Clothes.

All day every day. If you're going to get a LOT accomplished in a little time, it's time to strap on your sneakers and approach the day with the mind of an athlete. This is going to take some strength and endurance, might as well dress the part. And if you're like me, you will be wrangling some kind of baby while you're attempting to pick up last minute gifts, wrap presents, whip something up in the kitchen, all while trying to remember if you have actually brushed your teeth yet today. You don't need to do any of these things in style. You need to do them in comfort.

2. Google Drive.

This has been my saving grace over the past several years during the holiday season. This is where I keep a list of everything I've purchased and everything I still have yet to purchase for my loved ones. I keep a running total of every purchase (tape, wrapping paper, photos, Christmas card expenses, and yes, of course the gifts) so that I can stay on budget, and therefore, less stressed. Also, when my husband asks me (practically every other day) how we are doing on our budget, I can answer him with precision. It's less stressful to know exactly where I am measuring up on my budget so that I'm not shopping in the dark, so to speak. Aaaaaaand it's really awesome to be able to access this tool from my computer & phone, and share these documents with my hubby so that we're on the same page. I just have to remind myself to make a separate tab with his surprises listed (so that he can't see what I have in store for him on Christmas morning!)

3. Trifecta of Beverages.

My drinking method? I only drink three things in any given day. Water, coffee, and sometimes a glass of wine at night. Staying hydrated with H2O is a surefire way to keeping up energy throughout the day. The coffee is an obvious booster (unfortunately, the tribe of nursing mothers that I'm a part of can only caffeinate to a certain extent), and then if you really need to unwind and relax after that baby is (hopefully!) sound asleep - then imbibing in a glass of wine is a happy little reward.

4. Zzzz.

Listen to me, all of you blessed ones without newborns: get all the sleep you can!!! It's the best way to recharge so that your brain actually works when you need it to during the waking hours of the day. Getting good sleep is the best way to power through. And for those of you with newborns (like me), good luck. The challenge is a bit greater for us, simply because, we are missing out on a fundamental building block of our day - proper rest. Napping helps. But I won't encourage you to nap, because if one more person tells me that's what I should be doing, I might have to slap them. NAPPING ISN'T POSSIBLE RIGHT NOW. So stop telling me to do it. Maybe after the New Year.

5. Cross something off your list. Now do it again.

I know the list keeps lengthening. I know I know. But seriously, you've got to be able to make cuts in your to-do list. That extra baked good that you wanted to have for Christmas Eve? You don't need it. Don't spend your time on it. That extra party you got a last-minute invite to that you thought you'd "just stop by" for? You shouldn't go. All the excessive to-do's in the outlier margins of your mind - just say no. This is part of learning how to have self-control & guarding your time wisely so that you can offer the best of yourself to the most important people in your life. Also, it feels really good to just cross those unnecessary things off your list.


It's time to stop looking and idea-gathering. That time has ended. Stop looking at pictures of cute ways to wrap gifts, interesting new recipes to bake, and glittery outfit combinations. You ain't got time to fill your mind with more ideas. You have enough ideas. This week is time for executing what's already in your heart to do. So it's time to stop browsing Pinterest. Along with this is a call to ignore all the incoming emails from retailers trying to squeeze another dollar out of you. They don't have another special gift that you should buy. THAT EMAIL IS A HOAX. They want your money. They don't want to give you the Christmas spirit. You already have the Christmas spirit. These emails and those Pinterest searches will only make you think you need more of what you already have.

These next few days? They're for savoring. For laughing. For watching Christmas movies and joyfully wrapping gifts. Not frantically wrapping gifts, joyfully. And getting the last few things done that really matter to you. Enjoy the next few days leading up to Christmas!

Euro Trip: Gathering Information

Journey to the Old Country.

I know I mentioned it here and here a while back, but I am SO excited about going to Europe this summer. I've never been, except for a layover at Heathrow on my way to Kenya, but I'm not sure that really counts. We had to take a shuttle from one terminal to the next and I remember it because the air smelled so sweet. Like honey. Like European honey. Even when I was 18, I romanticized the London air. Because since then I've heard that there is no unusually special scent. Whatever. I've been dreaming of going to Europe since I was about 15 and now, ten years later, its finally happening. And I want to do it up right.

Here's the deal. Thirty days. A zillion countries (I've gotta cut down the list.) 2 backpacks (small one for him, smaller one for me.) I'd like to stay, primarily, in hostels and castles. And I'd like to conduct extensive alcohol/cheese/bread research. While I stay in castles.

This Euro trip planning has been a jazzy experience thus far. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I've been planning while streaming Justin Timberlake's new album for free (thanks, iTunes!) There is SO MUCH to prep and prepare for this trip, and there is more information out there than ever before. Forget those lonely planet books, there are so many blogs, websites and articles out there with REAL stories. And that doesn't include all the resources available on Pinterest. Check out my Euro trip board here. Here are a few of the resources I've compiled:


DreamEuroTrip: Travel like the jetset on a gypsy budget. This blog has been SO helpful!

How to Pack.

7 Things to Pack to Save you Money: This post by the Amateur Traveler is so helpful. I love my Nalgene, now I have a legit reason to bring it with me. Hydration is sexy. 

Two Weeks in a Carry On: Thank God someone actually gave me packing photos. I need to know what GIRLS pack on trips like this.

How to Pack a Suitcase for a Month: Even more tips. For even more days.

Packing and Gear: Euros Ate My Dollars is such a funny blog. And useful.

How to Sleep. 

Knock Yourself Out: Great tips on how to actually sleep through bumpy train rides and red eyes. I need one of those neck pillows!

Jaunted: How to appropriately beat Jet Lag. Because that's a real thing. And I don't want to catch it.

Get More Mileage Out of Your Wardrobe.

The Infinity Skirt: It might not be totally my style, but this could be a huge benefit when traveling abroad.

The Versalette: Interesting concept, not unlike the above suggestions.

Those Who Have Forged Ahead.

Andrew&Jenni: This couple did their Euro trip a few years ago. It is SO helpful reading up on their experience. They are precious.

Talk to Me.

I know many of you have been on backpacking trips through Europe. I welcome your stories and input! If you have any resources worth looking into or advice to share, it would be oh so appreciated. Share lots! Share often! Share with me!