Are you feeling the holiday time crunch? We all want to make the most of the holidays with our families and friends, but sometimes that can leave us feeling creatively stalled.

Ahhh Christmas. Where diets and productivity goes to die.

Balance is key. You don’t want to miss out on family time because you are painting and drawing all day. Think of all that wonderful food that needs to be eaten! But you do want to get some art done.

Here are some tips on how to balance family and art time during the holidays, so you can enjoy the season and stay on track with your art goals.

Get organized and plan it

Most families make plans. Plans to drive out to see uncle joe. Or drive to the mall to buy the latest gadget for the kids then run by the grocery store for the turkey right before going over to a friend’s house for food and drinks. 

Put the plans on your calendar and figure out the best time to get some art done. You may have to get up a bit early to get some art done before a full day of festivities. The best thing about this is that day has started creativity and you’ve gotten your most important task done first thing. You’ve basically won the day.

If you can’t do it early then plan it somewhere on your calendar. Don’t wonder when. Have a plan and execute.

Let your family know about your art goals

Communication is essential for healthy relationships. Don’t just disappear in your room for an hour or so. Before the festivities let your family know that you can’t wait and you’re excited to spend time with them but you will need some time at a specific point in the day to get some sketching done.

Keep your supplies handy

Maybe you don’t have a specific holiday schedule. In that case you want to simplify your art time. 

You wouldn’t plan a huge oil painting when you have no idea when your family will be done shopping and driving to grandma’s house. That would just leave you frustrated and resenting the time with your family.

Lower your criteria by planning simple sketches in your sketchbook and have it ready at hand wherever you go.

Within moments you can have your sketchbook out drawing the christmas tree you just helped the family decorate. 

When you’ve made it simple to get started you become more flexible and can take advantage of any moment of downtime. 

Use Traditions to Your Advantage

Maybe you travel for the holidays. It’s possible that the place you’re going you haven’t seen in a long while. In that case this is a great opportunity to sketch or paint there. 

Not only are you getting your art done but you’re cementing the experience into your memory to be recalled easier later. Plus you have a painting or a drawing to remind you of the journey. It’s like urban sketching combined with journaling about your life.

Win Win!

Take a break from tradition

Maybe your family does the same thing every year and it has always stalled your art progress. Maybe it’s time to try something new. 

Instead of giving gifts you’ve purchased, avoid the craziness at the stores and get your family to agree on making each other something for the holidays.

One year I created small little paintings for my family and mailed them out before Christmas. They all loved the paintings and it meant a lot more to them than something I went out and purchased. Your family loves you and I’m sure they want something that is part of you.

Again, communication is key here. Talk it over with your family and see if they agree to change it up for the holidays. 

Get the whole family involved

I’m sure your family knows you’re an artist. I bet most of you have gotten requests to draw or paint something your family wants. Well, this is an amazing opportunity to make someone happy by giving them a gift for the holidays that you’ve made.

For me, a gift created from a person is so much more valuable than something bought at a store. 

If your visiting family you haven’t seen in years ask them to sit down for a drawing. It doesn’t matter how good it is. You’ve just made them the center of your attention. They are the most important person in the room getting their portrait drawn. I guarantee you they will cherish the experience and the drawing for life. 

If you don’t want to draw them. Draw their house, their car, their pet. They will love it just the same.

Be flexible with your art

Don’t be stuck into just one mode of creation. Art can be anything! 

If you do digital drawing, oil painting or sculpture break out of your norm and plan to get with the family to paint ornaments for the Christmas tree. 

When I was a kid we always made salt dough ornaments. It’s a dough mixture that hardens after being baked then it can be painted on. That was probably 40 years ago now and I bet you a million dollars that my Mom still has those ornaments. 

Imagine that. By being a little more flexible you can create something that lasts in someone’s heart for decades. 

Post on how to make salt dough.


Enjoy the holidays! 

This is the most important thing you can do for you and your family.

This is not an either or thing. It’s a yes and. 

Yes you can enjoy the holidays, spend quality time with your family and get your art practice in. 

My video on setting a minimum could be extra helpful in finding that balance during the holidays.

Thank you for watching/reading. My purpose here is to help you become a better version of yourself. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to send me a message I reply personally to everyone.

Have a wonderful Holiday!

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