“Fa-La-La-La-La… La-La-La-La” The holidays are HERE and so is your growing bump! Holiday cheer is spreading, decorations will be everywhere, and the “To-Do List” is lengthening by the moment. It is possible to keep your holiday spirits high while keeping your stress level low this year.
So you’ve decided to host your family, friends, neighbors, strangers, and strays this year. You’ve decided to do this while expecting a baby at some point in the next few months (or weeks). You’ve also decided that it will all be picture perfect, happy, and pulled off without a hitch. Well, I can’t promise that, but I can give you quite a few ideas on how to keep your sanity throughout the process of hosting while pregnant!
Get your pen and paper ready, there’s something so satisfying about physically crossing items of lists.
Make a list of guests, recipes and ingredients, gifts, things to do, and a timeline for the day-of. Go as far as breaking the lists down into “early shopping” and “day before shopping.”
Guests: Snail Mail is always fun, but evites work just as well. Don’t be afraid to ask in person or just pick up the phone and verbally invite your guests. Keep a list of those confirmed, and follow up with anyone who is a maybe. Make sure that you let guests know well ahead of time what you would like them to bring. Please do not hesitate to ask them to help. Everyone always wants to bring something, let them take some of the stress off. Assign a few side dishes to those you trust to cook, and have others bring wine and beverages. You can never have enough adult beverages at a holiday gathering. Make sure to keep a note of what everyone is bringing so you can accommodate if someone cancels last minute.
- Gifts: This is the first thing that should be crossed off the list. Stick to a budget, remember that the season is not about what is wrapped under the paper, but is about being with those you love – making memories. If you are shopping, do it online, in front of the TV and have to all shipped to your doorstep.
- Groceries: All dried goods and beverages can be bought a week or two beforehand.
- Things to Do: Wash guest sheets and bathroom towels and hand towels, clean china (if using), decorate the house, wrap gifts, and freeze any homemade foods that can be baked/prepped ahead and reheated or thawed the day of (desserts an casseroles for example). Make sure you have your outfit planned out, tried on, and are happy with it. Hire someone to do any deep cleaning, or do it yourself the weekend before. Remember that you are pregnant and do not overdo it.
- Groceries: Produce, fresh meats and flowers.
- Things to Do: Flower arrangements, clean the house, set the table, and prep the kitchen for cooking the next day. Set out every spice and measuring cup.
- Cook early, leaving only one dish or so to be baked as people arrive.
- Clean as you cook.
- Take time to get ready and breathe, reminding yourself what you have already accomplished.
- Have cleaning supplies hidden but ready if someone spills red wine.
- Take breaks, put your feet up, stay hydrated as you work.
- Keep the holiday music going all day!
- Treat yourself to a massage either the week of your celebration, or the day after your guests leave.
- Keep the house thermostat set to a temperature that keeps you happy.
- Fill the house with your favorite smells. Use essential oils and a diffuser, homemade stove top potpourri, or your favorite candles.
- Snack as you prep to keep your blood sugars level and emotions happy.
- Buy a new outfit that makes you feel pretty and shows off your baby bump.
- Talk to your partner beforehand about making sure you take time to yourself if you need to. He can remind you to sit, get your plate, and help clean up.
- Hire a cleaner to come the following day. Do not stress over cleaning after you just hosted a fantastic holiday.
Advice from Other Holiday Pregnant Mamas:
- Listen to your body and rest whenever needed. Ask your spouse, partner, or friends to help. Make sure you are being taken care of throughout the planning, prepping, and holiday itself.
- Sleep, sleep, sleep. Go to bed early every night the week of your event.
- Pace yourself because overworking brings on Braxton hicks contractions – and they can put a damper on your day.
- Think simple and go with the flow.
- Set food out buffet style so guests serve themselves
- A sip of wine may ease your stress level – we have all been there – no judgements.
- Plan to eat early so you can be back in your leggings and watching Netflix by 7pm.
- Have someone take your picture. You want documentation that you pulled this off!
- Notice any swelling that occurs. Check your blood pressure if you have any signs of sudden swelling.
- Make sure that you are in control of how you are feeling. Pregnancy hormones can rollercoaster, and may cause an emotional experience. You do not have to host this holiday, pass it to someone else this year if you do not feel up to it.This is such a joyful time of year. Take the time to step back and embrace all of happiness that is happening around you. You are bringing people together, creating memories, and all the while – you are also growing life within you. Enjoy the tiny kicks and know just how special this holiday is, as it is one of the last before your baby joins in the fun.