haircuttingBeing a traveling mom can make getting things done for the holidays even more challenging. Whether you find yourself sipping eggnog at the gate, spending a couple of hours each day commuting back and forth to work, or planning a family trip to visit the relatives, there are ways to stay sane and accomplish what you need to get done if you prepare, prioritize and plan.

The most important rule I’ve learned is not to procrastinate on the things you can get done early; and then pace yourself during the weeks following Thanksgiving to do everything else. Make a list of what needs to get done; rank the activities in order from most important to least important; look at your schedule and figure out when to do them.

Here is a list of tips that have helped me successfully prepare, prioritize and plan for the holidays with sanity left intact, whether on the road out of town or traveling in my car close to home.
 
All Purpose Tips:
1.Carry a small notepad to capture your “lists;” keeping your notes in a place that’s convenient and accessible will make it easier to find information when you need it.

2.Create a word document for holiday card labels. Make updating addresses a continuous activity year-round, not an annual project that will take an hour to accomplish.

3.Fill up the tub, at home or in a hotel, with hot water and bath gel, sink in shoulder deep, and close your eyes for a relaxing quiet time. Breathe.

Gift Shopping and Holiday Greetings
4.Schedule a “date” with your husband, significant other, sister, or best friend to shop early in the season; splurge on a sitter and tie in lunch or dinner so you can actually savor the together time for some uninterrupted conversation.

5.Go into a store with a list of what to buy; a lot of time is wasted “window shopping” and making decisions as you go. You’ll also exceed your budget without advanced planning.

6.Consider giving money to children and adults; once the excitement of the season wears off they’ll appreciate being able to treat themselves to a special something. (Gift cards generally are considered a classier alternative; but this year, given the precarious state of the economy, cash may be the preferred option. The recipient won’t be limited to what or where they can make a purchase, and the money will still be able to be spent, even if a particular retailer goes out of business.)

7.Order gifts online; the experience of holiday shopping is overrated. 8.Take the holiday photo early and use an online service; plan to have cards delivered, addressed, and mailed out in early December.

Commuter Tips
8.Leave on time from work twice a week. Use the time you would have kept working to stop at a store and buy a gift or two.

9.Carry a microcassette recorder; as ideas pop into your head as you drive, you can safely capture your thoughts digitally, then transcribe the to dos when you’re not behind the wheel.

Tips for Traveling Moms
10.Take advantage of shopping at airport kiosks and hotel gift shops. You’ll find unique presents or hostess gifts that can’t be found at the local mall.

11.Get a haircut on the road. If you’re traveling to a company office out of town, ask colleagues to recommend a salon nearby. If you have some time between meetings, treat yourself to a trim and manicure. You’ll relax and look great when you get home.