’Tis the season of too many cookies, dozens of parties every weekend, and of course the never-ending list of gifts to buy for family, friends, teachers, coaches, babysitters, pets, Yankee swaps and more.

Without even a minute to spare during the chaotic holiday season how can stressed-out, over-shopped, cookied-out Moms grab a little of the magic for ourselves?

Here are my 5 Ways to Experience Christmas Magic today:

1. Schedule time with your inner kid-self. One of the biggest pleasures of the holiday season is seeing it through the eyes of a young boy or girl. Channel your excitement by marveling at Christmas lights, watching Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, reading ’Twas The Night Before Christmas or simply eating a candy cane!

2. Treat yourself to a Christmas movie. I’m not talking about the classics though I do love watching It’s A Wonderful Life every year. I’m talking about a romantic made-for-tv movie on Lifetime or The Hallmark Channel. These movies were made for Moms (and often feature actresses such as Danica McKellar who played Winnie on The Wonder Years!). Tune in and tune out your stress.

3. Sing and dance to Christmas music in the kitchen (or car or shower or…). In my world December 1 means Christmas and holiday music 24/7. Belting out “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” or “Silver and Gold” instantly melts my tension faster than a snowman!

4. Give. Shhhh….more than receiving I love buying gifts and giving gifts. Do something small and thoughtful for a neighbor. Or buy a big and grand gift to donate to Toys for Tots or another charity. Participate in your church’s Giving Tree. The details don’t matter but the giving does! Nothing feels better –or more like the holiday season — than reaching out in a meaningful way.

5. The biggest present of all: gift yourself the joy and wonderful of being present. The To Do lists will get done. The gifts will get wrapped. The cookies will be decorated. What will not happen is being in this moment — enjoying now right now with gratitude. Remind yourself what the holidays really mean. Practice being thankful. Notice everything. Wear a silly Santa hat. Have hot chocolate with extra marshmallows. Smell the pine needles. Laugh. Sing. Paint your nails red — and your toes green. Eat the extra cookies. Hit pause on the “musts” and just enjoy the magic today — when I clear my mind of everything I always feel the magic of the holiday season. And that is the best gift I could ever receive — and the one I am most thankful for every year.

Merry Christmas!

Originally published at www.huffingtonpost.com on November 30, 2016.

Originally published at medium.com