Don’t you just want to throw something at me for even suggesting it’s time to think about the holidays? I almost walked out of Target a couple of weeks ago because I couldn’t bear to see the red and green everywhere. Then the holiday music channels started on the radio and it was enough to drive me over the edge.
I wasn’t always this way. In absolute truth, if there was a crazy cat lady equivalent for Christmas, it would be me. I grew up loving the anticipation of the season, the noise, the gatherings, the food… If you have been around here any length of time, you know I’ve written about our family Christmas history before. Somewhere along the way, when my step-kids were about the age that my twins are now, I lost the feeling for the season. The to-do lists were out of control. The gift wants were out of control. The people and the noise made me feel like the Grinch surveying Who-ville.
So I changed a few things and found my joy for the season once more. It was a process - a very slow one - and like a pendulum, I’ve slowly been reverting back to my Scrooge ways. It is time to revisit the things that can make the holiday season one of joy and fun rather than curmudgeon and stress. Here is a list of ten things that help me feel good during the holiday season. Maybe they will help you too.
1. Self-care first. It’s ok to say “no” (to the invitations, the extravagant gifts, the extended family, the extra commitments). Go for a run, take a yoga class or a bubble bath or whatever it is that keeps you centered. (Incidentally, I’m *trying* to participate in this fantastic self-care challenge by Tami Hackbarth. If you want/need some good tips on self-care, definitely sign up for Tami’s mailing list.)
2. Keep a list but don’t let it keep you. You’ve been there. If it isn’t on the list, it doesn’t get done. It’s ok for some things to not get done. Let them go.
3. Decorate. Nothing gets me in the spirit like a festive house. Trust me, there will be more on this topic shortly. You won’t be able to stop me.
5. Try something new. Whether it is attending a tree lighting or going ice skating or sending out Christmas cards for the first time (P.S. you don't need to send them to everyone you know - just send 10 or 20), try something new as a family.
6. Share the season. Start your own food drive, volunteer at a soup kitchen, shop for kids in need…there are so many opportunities during the holidays to engage our kids in helping others.
7. Visit Santa. You are never too old to look a fool in the mall and get your picture taken. Your children will thank you later.
8. Reserve Saturdays for family, not shopping. The weeks are long and the last thing you want to do is go to the mall on a Wednesday night. Maybe you work full time and you would need a sitter and… I get it. BUT consider a hot (shopping) date with your spouse over lunch on a Tuesday. You’ll be amazed at how much you get done and how much fun you have. Less crowded is always a bonus.
9. Money isn’t everything. Activities are great and they needn’t be large or expensive. Wrap up books you already have or create a family advent calendar with small activities for each day throughout the season. Need some ideas? Check here, here, or here.
10. Embrace magic. Adopt an elf. Really. Do it.
Want more? You know I'm always willing to share my opinions. Join the mailing list. I promise I'll give you only the good stuff.