1 – Shop Less. Yes, I really said that. As we get older and families grow, the amount of people on your list can really get crazy. Except for children, consider doing a Yankee Swap or a Secret Santa (our family has been doing this for the past three years)…in addition to saving time and money, it’s really fun and you don’t end up with a pile of things that you want to re-gift. 😉
2 – Make plans with your friends (and relatives!). How often do you say, “I’m so busy, let’s wait to get together until after the holidays.” Don’t wait. Your relationships are more important than anything else, so make it your priority. You will benefit from having conversations knowing that you are not alone in the various challenges of life – and – it’s a fun time of year to be out in restaurants with festive decor and the high energy buzz. Do it!
3 – Continue your healthy habits. Ok, let’s first assume you have healthy habits. The worst thing you can do is cut down on exercising and ignore your healthy eating habits “until after the holidays”. Why? One, you won’t feel good, and two, you can do quite a bit of damage in a month, especially with all the parties and drinking. This doesn’t mean abstaining from cocktails and all the holiday food – but it does mean making smart choices every day and at every single party. Think of it this way: you are not doing it to deprive yourself, you are doing it to take care of yourself. 🙂
4 – Give up some traditions. Maybe you have always decorated your home with hundreds of lights and wreaths on every window. Maybe you always baked and decorated six different kinds of homemade Christmas cookies. Maybe you always sent out personalized Christmas cards. Always, always, always. No need. Sometimes traditions are so automatic you may not realize that they are more like obligations. Think about which traditions are really important to you, and which you can let go. Letting go of some old traditions can free up time to perhaps start a new one that may have more meaning to you now.
5 – Enjoy the magic. What are the things that spark joy for you during the holiday season? Listening to music? Watching old movies? Perusing through the aisles of Home Goods? Sitting by a fire with a glass of champagne? Singing carols? Reminiscing with a loved one? Taking a grandchild to see a holiday show? Baking gingerbread? Driving around neighborhoods at night just to see the lights? Going to church? Whatever it is for you, find the time, and do it all as much as you can!
Let the season begin! 🙂