So we just finished Thanksgiving and it seems like the second the dishes were put away, Christmas started. I am one of the few people in my neighborhood who did not put up decorations this past weekend. I do love decorating for the season but I like to savor it along the way instead of rushing to get it done…like it’s a chore.
Too many people feel overwhelmed every other day of the year and the holidays can exacerbate that feeling of gotta get it done, made, bought, wrapped, sent, etc. Even the best intended can get too wrapped up in trying to do everything and thereby enjoy nothing of the season.
Here are some suggestions to make the coming month easier, less burdensome, & more joyful. Who wouldn’t like more of that?
- Make your list. Check it twice. I love buying gifts throughout the year for people but sometimes forget what I’ve bought. Start your gift and card list early and keep updating it as you get inspired with new ideas or recipients. If you keep updating the same list (neatness does NOT count) you don’t have to worry about which list is the most current.
- Take time out for yourself. This probably should have been #1. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. If something is making you cranky and unpleasant to be around then stop doing it or delegate it to someone else. Nobody wants to be around a grinch or Scrooge this time of year. Take care of yourself so you can give of yourself cheerfully. Take a nap, go for a walk, say “no” to yet another obligation that stretches you too much. You’re worth it!
- Give gifts of time. Time fits everyone and is the perfect color! Get creative here with gifts of experiences such as classes or lessons such as cooking, paddle boarding, or yoga. Experiences like going to the zoo, a new museum, or visiting a nearby town or park. The emphasis is on spending the time together with that person or sharing with them something that you love and want to show them. Everyone remembers experiences which makes the gift all the more special. Combine this with #4 and it’s a win-win!
- Make gifts that you can. It doesn’t have to be (nor should it be :-)) fruitcake but now is a great time to get creative with gifts. One person I know is making a list of his favorite songs from childhood and young adulthood and giving his kids iTunes cards to start their own music collection. You can never go wrong with the gift of a letter to a friend or family member that tells how much they mean to you or tells a story. These are appreciated much longer than any other toy or sweater. When you share more of yourself, that’s a real gift.
- Be present this season. Yes, there are a million commercials on t.v. trying to get you into a mall to buy more stuff so turn it off! Go for a drive or walk around your neighborhood to see the pretty lights and decorations. Listen to Christmas music. Savor the fir/cinnamon scented candles. Taste the yummy cookies and breads you make and receive. When you take time to really let your senses absorb what is happening around you, you are truly present in the moment. Soak it in because this season only comes once a year.
- It’s ok to say “No.” Just say it politely. You don’t have to volunteer to be on another committee if you’re drained. You don’t have to go to the 3rd party this weekend. You don’t have to hand stamp your wrapping paper because you saw it on Pinterest. You don’t have to buy the latest and greatest gift that your friend on Facebook overshared. Just say, “no thank you. Not for me.” Your wallet and sanity will thank you.