Over the past few years, I have found a mantra that has really helped me when planning for big occasions, "Over prepare, then lower your expectations!". For me, that has meant that I find one "goal" for the event, and then I stick to that. For example, this Christmas goal is, "I want to create wonderful memories with my family". That is it!
Now, that can seem like a lot, but memories can be created by so many simple moments. Driving down the road with my girls singing along to the Chipmunk Christmas, cuddling by the fire watching Christmas movies as a family, and making gingerbread houses are all the building blocks to wonderful memories.
This means that I do my best to not get bogged down in the tiny details that can make for misery, when in reality most of it doesn't even matter. Hang in there with me...the menu of the Christmas dinner isn't what makes the memories, it is the people around the table that you are spending quality time with.
Don't completely forget the "over prepare" part of the mantra. For example, when we go as a family to the special drive through lights that the girls love, I make sure we get some yummy take out to eat on the drive and while in line. As much fun as it is to be in a toasty car as a family listening to Christmas music and seeing beautiful holiday displays, if everyone is starving and ornery, it will dampen the goal of making wonderful memories with my family.
Try out this mantra, and see if it doesn't help you to get the holiday that you are (realistically) shooting for.