The holiday season is in full swing. While this can be a happy time, it can also be very stressful. The pressure to find the perfect gift, have a beautifully decorated home and bake the most amazing cookies can be overwhelming. Your list of 'shoulds' can be a mile long. And social media can sure add to that pressure.
And what if you're just not feeling it? That can make things even more stressful. in this blog post I'm going to share my tips for navigating the holidays whether you're feeling festive but overwhelmed or you're just not in a fa-la-la-la-la kind of mood.
First, decide how you want to spend the season. I mean really decide. If you have a life partner, sit down and chat with them about what you'd like to do. Maybe you want to go all out. Maybe you want to do nothing. Or something in between.
While in years past my partner and I have gone all out with decorating and gifts, this year we were just not feeling it. We decided not to decorate and not to buy each other gifts.
What I am saying is that you get to choose what's best for you and your family at any given time.
Really look at what you're doing. Do you need to bake 7 different kinds of cookies? How about 2 or 3? Do you need garlands on all of your windows or would some simple flameless candles in each window be enough? Sometimes we get stressed by adding and adding. (I am so guilty of this). Sometimes more is just more.
Once you've made a decision, be okay with it. It's just human nature to watch what everyone else is doing and then feel bad because you aren't doing the same. During the holiday season, I'll be going to a party at my friend's home and I know that the house will be decorated beautifully. My friend just loves going all out. Instead of beating myself up for not doing the same, I'm going to enjoy all of her work and be glad I won't have as much to take it down and put it all away after New Year's.
Next, prepare. If you do have family obligations that you're not too happy about, reframe them. Instead of saying "I have to go to Aunt Marge's" try saying to yourself "I'm choosing to go see Aunt Marge. She's a bit wacky, but I know she appreciates our visit." If you don't love Christmas at your in-laws, try to figure out what might make it fun.
Several years ago, my partner's grandmother died right before Thanksgiving. Of course, everyone was sad. So I decided to take coloring books and markers with me. After dinner, while the boys were watching football, all the ladies sat at the dining room table and colored. It was a fun way to take our minds off the sadness.
Sometimes we get in a rut doing what we've 'always done'. What can you do to change things up and make them more fun?
If you decide to stay home on Christmas, surround yourself with things you love and plan what you're going to do. We don't get a lot of time off so on Christmas day we're giving ourselves the gift of rest. Sleeping in, cooking a great Christmas brunch and having another couple over to enjoy it with us. We'll probably spend the rest of the day watching movies and napping. I've already shopped for what we are going to have for dinner (yay Costco). So Christmas night we'll cook up a nice dinner and enjoy just being together. We're keeping it flexible and giving ourselves permission to chill.
Whatever you decide, I hope that these tips help you to make the holidays your own and find some time for peace and relaxing.