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Juggling Act: A Guide for Women Navigating Work and the Holiday Hustle

Juggling Act: A Guide for Women Navigating Work and the Holiday Hustle

December 15, 2023

As the holiday season approaches, the festive cheer can quickly transform into a whirlwind of demands, leaving us feeling like master jugglers trying to balance work and the magic of the season.

In the article The Gendering of Holiday Labor, author Judith Shulevitz calls this the “triple shift. The holiday shift.” The article included this note:

A 1990 study examined the different ways men and women perceive holiday shopping. Women in the study felt “compelled to do the ‘work,’” which often involved “kin-keeping,” or maintaining social ties. Christmas shopping was determined to be “women’s work:” they were the primary gift-givers and spent more on shopping than men. According to the study, “women appear to be socialized to take it quite seriously as real and important work.”

So, as you move into the holiday season, it might be time to set some boundaries and create some self-imposed rules to allow you to enjoy the season, too. Here are some ideas:

Embrace the Chaos

First things first – take a deep breath and embrace the chaos. The holiday season, much like our professional lives, can be wonderfully messy. There will be moments of joy, laughter, and, yes, a few unexpected surprises. Instead of striving for perfection, allow yourself to enjoy the imperfect beauty of the season. Remember, the messiness is often where the magic happens.

Prioritize Your Priorities

In the world of endless to-do lists, it's crucial to identify and prioritize your priorities. What aspects of work and the holidays matter most to you? Whether it's delivering a stellar presentation at the office or creating cherished memories with your loved ones, knowing your priorities helps you focus your time and energy where it matters most.   Be intentional and create get-togethers or activities that truly mean the most to you. Life is short! Make good stuff happen.

Create a Festive Calendar:

Your calendar is your best friend during the holiday season. Schedule your work commitments, family events, and personal downtime with intention. A well-organized calendar not only helps you manage your time efficiently but also allows you to visualize where you can create pockets of joy amidst the busyness. Bonus tip: color-code your calendar for an extra festive touch!

Bring Joy to the Workspace

Why not infuse a bit of holiday cheer into your workspace? A small desk decoration or a twinkling string of lights can transform your professional space into a merry haven. Surrounding yourself with subtle reminders of the season can uplift your spirits during busy workdays. Plus, it might bring a smile to your colleagues' faces too!

Master the Art of Saying No

While the holiday season is synonymous with giving, it's essential to master the art of saying no. You can't do it all, and that's perfectly fine. Politely decline invitations or additional work commitments that may tip the balance. This isn't about shutting doors; it's about ensuring you have the energy and enthusiasm for the things that truly matter.

Delegate Like a Pro

You're a superhero, but even superheroes have sidekicks. Don't hesitate to delegate tasks, both at work and at home. Whether it's assigning projects to colleagues or enlisting family members for holiday preparations, sharing the load fosters a sense of teamwork. Remember, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Celebrate the Small Wins

In the midst of your professional hustle and holiday bustle, take a moment to celebrate the small wins. Did you complete a challenging project? Hooray! Successfully bake a batch of cookies with the kids? Bravo! Recognizing and celebrating these little victories injects a dose of positivity into your journey and reminds you that you're doing an incredible job.

Craft Moments of Self-Care

Amidst the giving and sharing, don't forget to gift yourself moments of self-care. Whether it's a quiet cup of tea, a brisk walk in the crisp winter air, or a few minutes of mindfulness, prioritize activities that recharge your batteries. Remember, you can't pour from an empty cup, and self-care is the secret ingredient to maintaining your zest for both work and play.

Virtual Celebrations Matter

In our interconnected world, virtual celebrations have become the norm. Leverage technology to connect with loved ones and colleagues, especially if travel or in-person gatherings are challenging. Virtual holiday parties, team calls with festive backgrounds, and online gift exchanges can bring the warmth of the season to your professional and personal circles.


As you embark on this festive balancing act, know that your efforts are seen and appreciated. Embrace the joy, accept the imperfections, and celebrate the beautiful mess that is the holiday season!