“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” … or so the song says. December is a month of holidays, primarily religious based but all generally involve gift giving, get togethers and lots of food! Advent just began, Hanukkah started today, Christmas is coming, Winter Solstice that is often celebrated in new age circles, and Kwanzaa rounds things out before the big bash on January 1st celebrating the New Year. While the year-end holidays are supposed to be a time of love, peace, and joy, they often turn out to be filled with frantic shopping, travel – near and far, packed cars, packed schedules and a heaping dose of stress as we strive to create those breathtaking holiday moments for friends and family and often on a budget. So to help you make your holidays more blissful, I consulted an expert, the expert, and picked up a few tips. Here are some of my favorite holiday stress-busting strategies – from Santa to Me, and Me to You. Enjoy!
1. ‘Tis the Season to be Jolly
Rule Number 1, remember what the holidays are all about! Santa wouldn’t be nearly as much fun to see if he was grumpy and stressed out. Take your time and enjoy the company of those around you. This is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and others.
2. Make a List and Check It Twice
Santa has got to be incredibly organized and efficient to accomplish everything he does. Make a master list of what you’d like to get done, put a star beside the really important things and “nice to have/do” goes at the bottom. Pick just a few things everyday – start now, keep up, and the important things will get done. Check your list twice, and only twice, then let it go and get on with it. It’s important to keep up our normal life at this time too!
3. Ask for Help and Trust the Elves
A task shared is a task halved. Santa couldn’t possibly do everything he does if he had to do it on his own. The original jolly old elf knows when to ask for help, and then trust those he asked to do it. So put your elves and helpers to work. Don’t be shy, ask for what you need, then stand back and let them go! Maybe you can pool task with other busy shoppers; one person picks up the bakery goods, the other cards and wrap – you get the idea. Get creative and share. It’s a great way to get a lot of things done quickly while building memories and spending time with each other.
4. Be Forgiving
We all have our moments of naughty and nice, and never more so than during the busy holiday season. Tight schedules, and tighter budgets can turn the happiest shoppers into harrowing hags. Have a little sympathy, be a bit more gracious and patient. We’ve all been there, and hope that Santa’s forgotten our discourteous moments too.
5. Do Your Own Thing…No Matter What Other People Think
Incredible but true, not everyone believes in old Saint Nick, yet that has never deterred him from making his yearly rounds. Do what’s important to you, what you believe in and makes you feel good. The joy this brings in your life is bound to spill over to others, and whether they’re believers or not. Eventually you will win if not their support, at least their hearts.
6. Take Time for Milk and Cookies
Flying around the world in a single night, delivering toys to every girl and boy, is a lot of work, but even Santa finds a time for a break. As wonderful as it is to do things for others, you have to take care of yourself. Stop for milk and cookies (or a hot bath and a glass of chardonnay!) Read the occasional note from a child or maybe even write one. Find the time to care for yourself this holiday season, it will be more relaxing and definitely more fun.
7. Give From The Heart
Gifts from Santa feel so good because they truly come from the heart. The jolly old Claus showers us all with unconditional love and joy. He asks for nothing in return, and simply gives for the joy of giving. Share of your time and of yourself this holiday season, not for what you get back, but purely because you are able to give. So many in this world have so little, and giving, when we are able to do it, is not a duty but a privilege.
So this holiday season, slow down, breathe deeply, listen to songs and carols and the occasional sleigh bells. Watch glistening snow fall if it happens in your part of the world, laugh with playing children, and let the spirit of the season lift your sprits. However you spend the holiday season, my best wishes are with you. May it be wonderful, joyful, happy and safe.
p.s. Have any tips you can share for dealing with the holidays? Would love to read them below 🙂