Monday, November 25, 2013

Putting the Ho Ho Ho into Hockey & The Holidays

The holidays are almost here and for hockey families the calendar is as stuffed as a stocking hanging from a mantle on Christmas morning. This time of year present a dizzying array of demands for us: practices, tournaments, plus the parties, family gatherings, shopping, baking, school concerts, decorating, and cranky kids. Whew! But just like a hockey game, winning efforts come to those who plan for the holidays. So here are a few tips from my life and the lives of my hockey friends:)

Having a visual game plan can be one of the best ways to keep the family a bit more sane and organized during the busy holidays. I use a dry erase calendar to keep my home team in line. Purchased at any office supply store, be sure everyone can see it by placing it in a spot like your kitchen or family room. That way you can all be on the same page and work as a team to tackle the many tasks of the season. Mark down work, school, hockey and family commitments and schedule holiday shopping, baking and even gift wrapping.

Even Mrs. Claus has time to cook during the holidays and Pittsburgh hockey mom Dana Vento, with A Hockey Mom Reviews, says you can do the same. Her advice? “Pick a two hour time slot before the hockey madness begins and cook ahead and freeze those meals in zipper freezer bags. Throw on two pots of soup (veggie and chicken), and make a batch of meatballs! Don't forget to whip up a bag of taco meat! This all freezes well and can be the difference between collapsing at home with a warm satisfying meal or waiting in a restaurant and not scoring points because you are tired and cold from the rink! “

Vento also suggests a stop at a warehouse club for snacks can be a real time and money saver, “You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of snacks on hand for the time between tourneys. Yes, be that team mom! All those little elves need food! “

Vento reminds us how a little holiday cheer can go a long way in the locker room too, “Don't forget the coaches with gift cards to their favorite coffee shop-- you want them pleasant right? No Bah Humbugs allowed in the locker room.”

To keep the season smelling fresh, Vento also likes to stock up on her favorite brand of hockey bag air fresheners to keep the funk out of the bags and out of the car, “You don’t want to scare off Santa and his reindeer with hockey stench.” Good call Dana.

You can count on conflicts in the schedule, so setting up a car pool might be the next best thing to Santa's sleigh. Parents are usually always willing to pitch in and help shuttle the kids to their destinations. Make sure you return the favor.

Let’s not forget about warmth during this long, cold season, “It is important that the hockey mom/dad doesn’t freeze because we are not used to North Pole winters. Grab one bag and toss the following items inside: hat, gloves, blanket and an extra sweater or jacket. These items will keep you warm while you’re at the rink and if they never leave your car, you are sure to have what you need, when you need it,” advises Vento.

Stressful? Sure. But we can handle it. We're hockey families. Here’s wishing you an insulated odor-free stocking full of great hockey for the holidays!”

Christie is the author of the popular children’s books, The Puck Hog and Haunted Hockey in Lake Placid, The Puck Hog Volume 2, described by Positive Coaching Alliance as delightful books that teach an important lesson about teamwork. “The book presents coping mechanisms for players who find themselves facing teamwork challenges and can start discussions between sports parents and their children.” Order your copy on or purchase an autographed copy at

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