When you think of the holiday season, what three words come to mind? Are the words relaxed, rested and joyful mentioned? It really is possible to make this holiday season the best you’ve ever had. Choosing realistic goals with conscious planning will give you more time and energy than you ever dreamed of. Listed below are the three questions that I am most frequently asked about the holidays.
How do I keep from getting so stressed that I can’t enjoy the holidays?
- Make a calendar with all the major events and preparation time. Space your holiday activities so you balance late nights out with planned nights at home getting plenty of sleep. Save some time for yourself.
- Set realistic spending limits. Look for money leaks (impulse buying). Check online for discounts and free events. Plan shopping when stores are less crowded or shop online.
- Choose which holiday traditions you want to keep. Decide on realistic expectations and your role in making them happen. Face the fact you can’t do everything, see everybody, go everyplace, and make everyone happy in the process.
- Get support. Don’t try to do it all yourself or get so caught up in the preparations that you can’t really enjoy an event. Invite family, friends, neighbors or co-workers to help.
- Balance rich food and an overload of calories with nutritious meals and regular exercise. Don’t gorge, just graze. Be sure you have a non-alcoholic drinker as designated driver when partying.
What do kids really want during the holidays?
- A relaxed and loving time with family.
- Realistic expectations about gifts.
- An evenly paced holiday season.
- Reliable family traditions.
An 8-year-old boy was asked about how the tradition of the Christmas tree first got started. He replied “Santa Claus used to hang trimmings on the reindeer’s antlers, but the reindeers complained because it gave them sinus troubles. So, trees were the next choice.”
How do I get through the holidays after having lost someone I love?
- Honor memories and create new traditions for yourself and your family. You may also need to redefine your idea of “family” being only those people related by blood or marriage. You can be with your “family of choice” made up of compatible people who share your view of life.
- Get support from people who care about you. Spend time with people who understand “where you are” and who allow you to talk about the person who is no longer here and about past holidays.
- When you feel like crying, take time to cry; when you feel like getting angry, get angry; when you feel like being alone, take time for yourself. Be careful not to isolate for long periods of time.
- Be gentle with yourself; take time to rest, eat and exercise; be realistic about what you can and cannot do.
- Get involved in helping others. Volunteer at a food bank, church or clothes closet.
This poem (I don’t know who the author is) encapsulates the importance of the holiday season for me and I would like to share it with you.
Mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Write a love letter. Share some treasure. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Keep a promise. Find the time. Forgive an enemy. Listen. Apologize if you were wrong. Think first of someone else. Be kind and gentle. Laugh a little. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love. Speak it again. Speak it still once again.