Hello Bloglandia! How I miss you when I don’t write for a while. I am sure everyone is getting ready for the holiday season as I am. Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa is just around the corner. Forgive me if I add the typical blogger’s cliché question. Where the heck did the year go? It just seems that when you blog, the days, weeks and months tend to fly by.
I was going to refrain from writing this post in the fear of sounding a bit preachy. Believe me, I am the last person who should be preachy to anyone. I changed my mind when I was in Shopper’s Drugmart. As I held my moisturizing hand cream, floss and mouth wash in my hand at the check out, I looked over why Mariah Carey is miserable and alone yet again in the tabloids. That’s when my attention was taken away from the romantic woes of Ms. Carey, to the lady directly in front of me with her child. A daughter, maybe ten years old or so.
“But mommy,” said the child, “Leah is getting the new iPhone for Christmas and anything she wants from American Eagle. Anything!”
“Ok, alright,” the mother sighed with exasperation (or exhaustion.) “You told me this a million times. The iPhone is very expensive. I told you I would talk to your father about it. No more bugging me, please!”
The child pouted (as children often do) and crossed her arms across her chest.
Christmas is an expensive time. I am shocked when I hear that some people have racked up thousands on their credit cards this time of year. It can also be stressful and feel more like a chore than a festive occasion. Although I don’t have the worry about wondering how I will afford to pay for my child’s wish list to Santa, I do get it and completely understand. I become stressed over obligations and running out of time. Wrapping, shopping, decorating, cooking and extra cleaning. It can all get too much at times. I decided a long time ago not to let material things and the commercial side get in the way of the true meaning and to keep Christmas festive, and not “stresstive.” Sure I love the commercial side. The parties, the carols, the tree trimming and all the food, but the older I get, the simpler I love to keep this time of year.
Trex-to-Tigress’ Guide to a Stress Free Holiday Season:
- I decline some invitations if it gets too overwhelming. I used to want to attend all the parties. I still want to. I love holiday functions. They are nothing but fun. Parties all weekend however, can get a bit much and at times my body just needs to rest. A rest from over-eating, too much wine and feeling lethargic and headachey the next day. Listen to your body. If it is giving please rest signals, give yourself a break. Your loved ones will understand.
- I refuse to shop in a huge crowd unless absolutely necessary. Now with the convenience of online shopping, there is no need to be elbow to elbow in a busy shopping mall and agonizing over where to find a parking spot. The older I get, the less tolerance I have with weaving through masses of busy shoppers. Which segues nicely into my next tip….
- If finances are tight, cut back on your list. I have a huge family. There is no way I can afford a gift for everyone. Last year I gave many a simple gift of fresh clementines, cinnamon sticks, fragrant rosemary and thyme and a pretty ornament from the dollar store. I wrapped it in a festive package and gave one to each family unit within my family. For parents that are stressing like the lady above, there is one thing I know for sure. I have worked with children for many years. Those who are poverty-stricken or financially advantaged, children all crave and want time with their parents. Experiences and memories are things that children will remember all their lives. Not a toy that loses its novelty over time. Create traditions. A walk to see the lights on Christmas Eve. A trip to the local skating rink and then hot chocolate or a toboggan ride down a snow-capped hill. Sweet, sweet memories.
- Focus on those who are without. I by no means want this to sound preachy, but I cannot tell you enough. It feels so good to give back! Every year Andy and I have a tradition of going down to a homeless shelter on Christmas day to serve meals and chat with people. My heart just swells up when I see the women, men and children all so happy to receive a full course Christmas dinner. For many, this is the hardest time of year. Addictions, family estrangement or job loss has made them completely alone and isolated over the holidays. I love to share my time with these folks, and let them know that people do care.
- And you know I have to include this last tip. Take care of yourselves. Eat right, exercise, mediate and make time to just breathe. It is all going to get done, and if it doesn’t who cares? I always try to remember that my health is a gift. Focus on your wellness goals, and remember why you started said goals. Don’t allow stress to jeopardize your health.
Happy Holidays! Cheers to a stress-free season.