5 Cheap & easy ways moms (or anyone!) can indulge this holiday season

It's December, and that means holiday mayhem has kicked into high gear. As I've mentioned before, I love this time of year, but that doesn't mean it isn't overwhelming. My calendar is jam-packed with parties, service opportunities and shopping trips, and like any new mom, I'm struggling to figure out how to make time for it all without disrupting our routine too much.

Admittedly, it can be stressful. But through it all, I'm trying to make sure I remember the spirit of the season. While I know, this time of year is all about giving, I also recognize that once in a while, we have to step back and treat ourselves in order to keep our moods lifted. Here are a few cheap and cheerful ways to do just that. 

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Aromatherapy. Buy yourself a new scented candle. I love to light one in the bathroom and take a nice hot shower while my six-month-old naps. It's super-relaxing and helps me head into the day with a good attitude. Those scented with vanilla or lavender are said to be particulary soothing, so try those at night. In the morning, I lean toward anything citrusy--it's energizing and will leave your home smelling like you just spent a few hours cleaning, even when you haven't had the time.

Gourmet Cocoa. I have to admit, I'm obsessed. I've actually been known to have a few cups a day when it's chilly out. If you're on the go, places like Starbucks and Panera have great European-style cocoa made from dark chocolate and milk or cream that are just flat out indulgent. But if you would rather save your $5, it takes minutes to whip some up at home--you just need unsweetened cocoa, milk, and sugar. Here's a great recipe for Mexican hot chocolate, one of my personal faves.  Make a cup before bed and the tryptophan in the milk might just lull you to sleep.

Get a manicure. A standard manicure will run you about $10 in most places, and these days a lot of nail salons include a nice hand massage for that price. I usually do my nails at home, but if I just need a half hour of quiet, alone time, I'll head out to my favorite spot. To keep it festive, choose a nice sparkly shade of polish and apply a clear top coat at home nightly to keep it from chipping while you wrap gifts and hang stockings.

Take a night off from the kitchen. I love cooking, but after a long day of running errands or shopping or party planning or heck, even prepping a pernil, I'm too spent to plan a meal let alone stand over the stove while it cooks. Give yourself a pass and order out from your favorite take out joint -- I'm partial to sushi.

Sleep in.  Most days, I have to wake my son up in the morning in order to get our day started and stick to somewhat of a reasonable schedule. But I very recently learned that it's okay to let him sleep a little longer and to let myself enjoy an extra half hour or so snuggled up under the covers. In fact, he usually gets himself right back on schedule by mid-afternoon. If your kids are early-risers, put daddy to work. Your significant other can handle breakfast and Saturday-morning cartoons while you catch a few extra ZZZs.

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Topics: baby  happiness  holiday  kids  sleep