At the core of most holiday stress is a self-imposed belief that we must handle everything on our own. We become fixated on creating ‘perfect’ memories for everyone, often at the expense of our own well-being.
It’s not uncommon to feel guilt when asking for help. Don’t do that to yourself. In a season filled with turkey, tinsel and to-do lists, seeking a helping hand and delegating holiday tasks isn’t a sign of defeat, but a testament to your commitment to creating the memorable moments you always envision.
Welcome to my favorite new household word: outsourcing.
Outsourcing, when applied to parenthood, refers to the delegation of certain parental or household tasks and responsibilities to professionals or tools in order to save time, reduce stress and achieve a more balanced personal and family life.
In other words, outsourcing is the holiday miracle that we’ve all been searching for. During the madness of the holidays, outsourcing isn’t just about convenience. It’s about mental and emotional well-being. It’s about self-care. It’s about being intentional with where and how you want to spend your time and energy. And I have a feeling that probably doesn’t include cleaning the toilets.
Tired of cooking? Me too.
Lucky for us, there are hundreds of reasons why you shouldn’t even bother. Finding the perfect pre-made holiday meal in metro Detroit is easy-peasy.
My annual favorite is Whole Foods. You can buy the entire meal, with extras, and it is always tasty. Most local supermarkets and gourmet shops, like Plum Market and Westborn Market, offer holiday meal packages. They often have a range of options from full-course meals to à la carte dishes.
Feeling fancy? Several of metro Detroit’s renowned restaurants offer holiday takeout menus. Imagine enjoying a festive meal from an establishment like Folk or Cafe Cortina without the fuss of cooking!
Detroit’s iconic delis, such as Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor or Livonia Bakery and Cafe, often have holiday specials. They offer everything from breakfast spreads to unique dinner dishes with local flair.
Pro tip: Plan ahead. Many places will require advance orders for holiday meals, sometimes weeks in advance. Be sure to check deadlines!
The holiday season is synonymous with festivity, gatherings and, often, a bit of a mess! Ensuring homes are spick-and-span for holiday festivities and cleaning up post-celebration can be a daunting, exhausting task.
Just know, it’s more than OK to get a little help. Hire cleaning professionals pre-gathering, post-gathering and for all needs in between. Starting your search early increases the chances of securing a booking in your price range.
Websites like Care.com, Thumbtack and Angi are reliable platforms to find vetted cleaning professionals. Be sure to check user reviews first. Friends, family or neighbors might also have recommendations.
Keep in mind that whether you’re looking for a deep cleaning session, regular touch-ups or post-holiday cleanup, be clear about your requirements. This will help match you with cleaners equipped to handle your specific needs.
How many arguments have tangled lights caused? Or misplaced ornaments? Does everyone start out decorating as a family, but then the task is left to one person? Don’t do that to yourself this year.
Local gardening centers and landscaping companies, such as B&B Holiday Decorating or Farmers Market Chicago’s Garden Center, often offer both indoor and outdoor decorating services during the holiday season. Some even provide workshops if you decide to try on a DIY approach with expert guidance.
Professional holiday decorators aren’t only for Hallmark Christmas movies. You can wow your crowd, too.
Find decorators on websites like Thumbtack, Houzz, TaskRabbit or Angi. Or reach out to local art and design schools. Students or alumni might be looking to showcase their decorating skills or even volunteer for portfolio-building opportunities.
Personal shoppers are no longer found just on Rodeo Drive.
In a traditional vein, many upscale department stores and boutiques in metro Detroit offer personal shopping services, often complementary with a purchase. Stores like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue in the Somerset Collection have in-house personal shoppers.
But local toy shops are especially all in on the Santa game, making it super easy for parents to make a list and check it twice. For example, Toyology in Bloomfield Hills, Royal Oak and West Bloomfield offers gift wrapping and curbside pickup.
Buying locally also means you are tapping into local toy experts so rely on them to find the best gifts. Genuine Toy Co. in Plymouth prides itself on a unique shopping experience that not only includes toys you grew up with, but the best toys today that fit any budget.
In our modern world where all of your shopping can be done online, websites like Thumbtack, LinkedIn or Upwork can be invaluable resources. They can connect you with virtual or local personal shoppers or personal assistants. You can vet them based on reviews and their professional experience.
Instagram also can be a gold mine for finding local personal shoppers or stylists. Just try searching with hashtags like #DetroitStylist, #MetroDetroitShopper or #VirtualHolidayAssistant.
When you find the right person, make sure that you’re clear about your expectations. Whether it’s a strict budget, specific brands or particular styles, the clearer you are, the better results you’ll get.
Wrap It Up
Many malls, like Fairlane Town Center, often set up gift-wrapping stations during the holiday season, offering professional wrapping for a fee or donation. Check local stores like Barnes and Noble or Sephora. They often offer gift-wrapping services, especially during peak holiday times.
Some charities, such as local schools or community groups, host gift-wrapping stations as fundraisers. Support a good cause and get your gifts wrapped!
Websites like TaskRabbit or Thumbtack allow you to hire local professionals specifically for gift-wrapping tasks.
Keep an eye on community boards or Eventbrite for gift wrapping workshops. Not only can you get your gifts wrapped, but you might also learn a trick or two!
TikTok Holiday Hacks to Try
The magic of Christmas lies in the details – the joy of giving, the twinkle of fairy lights, the scent of cookies baking. For parents seeking to create that magical, festive ambiance without the accompanying stress, we scrolled to find some fave holiday hacks on TikTok.
Christmas Morning Hack
Give yourself a gift on Christmas Morning: peace of mind. @muddlethroughmummy puts together a little tool kit filled with everything Santa’s helpers need to make magic. It includes all the batteries because no one wants to trudge to the convenience store for batteries on Christmas morning, multiple-sized screwdrivers because you know that you will need them, a trash bag or two and Sharpies to write names on toys.
Watch Your Tree Glow
One thing is for sure, @kellyfitzsimmons__ has a ton of patience. That patience is rewarded with the glowiest Christmas tree that ever was. Her step-by-step tutorial shows viewers how to make their trees glow from the inside out.
Hot Chocolate Bomb
This delicious viral TikTok recipe by @areesa for the ultimate hot chocolate bomb was released in 2020. According to the reviewers, this hot chocolate bomb creates the most decadent cup of cocoa this side of the North Pole. If you have the willpower, you may even be able to stash some away to give as gifts!
Paper snowflakes made with brown paper lunch bags took the world by storm a few years back when introduced on social media. @thekwendyhome shares a beautiful instructional video on how to use them in decorating the home. Her video has been viewed more than a million times since first released. These snowflakes are as inexpensive as they are stunning! Kids can make them, too.
A Wrapping Weekend
This is my favorite hack of the season, and I am not alone; 248,400 people agree! @McKelligan began checking herself into a hotel two years ago for one weekend each December to wrap presents. Well, watch a bunch of TV, eat take-out, wear jammies and wrap presents. Not only is she checking off her holiday list, but she is getting in some much-needed R&R before the big day. This is the kind of hack that you can’t mess up!
How to Have a ‘Silent’ Night
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, a time of joy, laughter and, of course, deafening cacophony that could rival the world’s wildest jungles. But who says the holidays have to be all about merriment and cheer? There is no written rule for how to do this whole holiday thing.
If you’re secretly longing for some peace and quiet amidst the chaos, try these five tongue-in-cheek strategies to ensure that you experience a truly silent night during the holidays.
The Gift of Unwanted Presents
Who needs those cheerful family conversations? Gift your loved ones a series of perplexing and unwanted presents, from life-sized garden gnomes to do-it-yourself accordion kits. You’ll have them scratching their heads in bewilderment and rendered completely speechless at any attempts at polite conversation.
The Soundproof Festive Wardrobe
Introducing the latest in holiday fashion: the Soundproof Festive Wardrobe ala your teenage son. Hood up and earbuds in. This cozy, yet trendy, ensemble will not only protect you from the cold, but also turn you into a walking mute zone. Just be prepared for a few odd glances at the dinner table.
Caroling the Non-Carol Way
Why engage in the age-old tradition of caroling when you can stage your very own “silent” caroling protest? Gather your willing family members, or the dog, and silently stand in front of your neighbors’ homes staring at the front door until they open it to check on you. Then walk away. This should leave them puzzled until at least April when they may try striking up a conversation again.
The Unconventional Feast
Ditch the traditional feast for an avant-garde culinary experiment that’ll leave your guests speechless, literally. Imagine a menu of experimental textures, colors and flavors that leave everyone pondering the meaning of taste itself. Just remember, you’re not hosting a food tasting; you’re conducting a symphony of silence.
The ‘Do Not Disturb’ Decor
Deck the halls with giant “Do Not Disturb” signs, adorning your living space with holiday-themed notifications of forced tranquility. Add extra layers of confusion by placing them next to festive decorations and mistletoe, effectively turning the season of togetherness into a puzzling maze of personal space where everyone is encouraged to blissfully skate on their own ponds. This is therapy in action.
Mom of two boys, 4 and 8
- I use minted.com for our holiday cards because they address them for me. I also send Thanksgiving cards instead of Christmas, so I don’t have to worry about them in the peak chaos.
- I start making my dough and cookies and gift quick bread loaves a little at a time starting at the end of September and freeze them.
- I order edible gifts for most of the adults on our list because I’ve found they don’t typically want more stuff and appreciate unique delicious food items. Plus, I love supporting small businesses.
Mom of 3 kids, 23, 18 and 2
- I think what works best for me is asking for help. When hosting Thanksgiving dinner, I will ask my family/friends to bring the pops or plates or something to help take some of the load off me.
Mom to four, 15, 12, 9, and 7
- I just started using Task Rabbit for things I’m not good at like deep cleaning my shower tile. I’m going to use them for wrapping presents this year, too.
Mom to five, 11, 8, 6, 3 and 6 months
- We host our big Christmas party after Christmas but before New Year’s! Many people are off work/school and things are a bit more relaxed.
- For all our siblings, we have agreed to only give donations to charity in one another’s name! We love opening up the envelopes to see what organizations have been helped. Since the amount is not shown, it’s easy to adjust for our budget and not feel bad.
- We spread gift opening out over all 12 days of Christmas so our kids don’t get overwhelmed and we get to savor the season more.
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