5 Simple Ways to Keep Holiday Stress at Bay

The clock is ticking down and it’s time to fret… or is it? Often we begin our days wondering:

  • Are we ready?
  • Do we have gifts purchased equally and wrapped beautifully?
  • Is there food to eat?
  • Is there entertainment?

life goes onThe thing is — it doesn’t really matter if we don’t get mom’s mincemeat cookies made this year.
The outside lights don’t need to be hung.
The stockings can be lying on the floor with nothing inside – Nada – not even coal…

And still Christmas will come.

Here’s how to get through it all in a simple and joyous manner:

1. Ask

Yes, it’s that simple. Ask your children, siblings, parents and friends what it is they want. Their answers might surprise and they will certainly relieve you. You now have a valid list to work from. You may not get them just what they asked for but you have an idea of what direction to go.

2. Tell

Yes, another simple suggestion. Tell the people who shop for you want you want. You will take pressure off them and allow them to get you something that you really want.  My aunt told me a few years ago that she loved the calendars I sent to her but didn’t have a place to hang them. What she wanted instead was second-hand paperbacks. She loved mysteries and this way new and different authors would cross her path!

Wow, she opened a door for me to go to garage sales all year-long. I found out that if you send a box full of paperback books (which I did throughout the year) via Media Mail, the cost is totally affordable. (Remember, just media, nothing else for this price.)

3. Give

This simple tip is the essence of the season. Give of yourself. Give cards or cookies. It doesn’t matter what you give, it’s the act of connecting. Now more than ever it’s so wonderful to get a card in the mail or a make a phone call to someone ‘just because’.

4. Allow

Allow yourself time to feel the specialness of the season. And if you find some sadness pop up, allow that too. The holiday season is full of memories of people who are no longer in our lives.  Give yourself time to go to that place and remember them from long ago. Remember, their presence in your world helped make you what you are today – in one way or another. Watch inspiring videos or songs that lift your heart and remind you of the beauty in our world.

5. Move

Be kind to yourself and move. Take a walk, find some steps, do some squats, reach and stretch. And breathe. Tis the season for platters of cookies, bowls of dip, plates filled with appetizers and glasses bubbling with tasty concoctions. We talk, eat, drink and at the end of the day we feel larger than life. Time in motion is the best time of all.  We’re so good about giving time to others but rarely make time for ourselves. But that’s going to change – isn’t it?

Last tip of all — Go easy on yourself and allow time for true interaction with someone who needs to talk. That’s the best gift of all, isn’t it?

Unwrapping Christmas

The outside of my house is dark this Christmas season. No lights, no garland, no artificial Santa or Baby Jesus on my lawn.

Christmas WreathI have a lone wreath. Everything looks so sad.

In my world, Christmas is on the inside:

I love the Christmas season.
I love to get presents (SANTA, ARE YOU THERE?)
I love to decorate inside my house.
I love waking up to a lit Christmas tree and colorful lights inside my house.
I love playing Christmas music and singing along (if you sing really loud, nobody really knows that you’re off key!)
I love hot apple cider and pumpkin bread.
I love sugar cookies with icing (not so great about making them though).
I love having my family close by.
I love having friends over.
I love remembering Christmas past.

The secret is on the inside. The color, smells, sounds and feel of Christmas happens when you walk through the front door.

Come on in!