Hard to believe it's already December, this year has flown by. Have you written your cards? Wrapped your gifts? If the thought of the impending celebrations make you want to cower under the kitchen table, you’re not alone. Follow my tips for a stress-free holiday season!
1. Look after yourself.
It's only natural to worry about everyone else, making sure they have what they need to enjoy the festive period, but if you're not OK, your family is not OK. Frantically running around during your lunch break searching for the perfect gifts will take its toll on your emotional and physical health. Take time out to rejuvenate. Just 10 minutes of mindful breathing a day will do wonders for your stress levels. Delegate what you can ... who says you have to do it all on your own?
2. Give yourself a reality check.
You may have a to-do list a mile long, but what would happen if you didn't do everything on it? The world wouldn't end if everything wasn't perfectly coordinated or if the place cards weren't handmade. Condense your list and don't sweat the small stuff.
3. Let go of traditions that don't work for you.
You probably have an idea of the "right" way to celebrate the holidays that comes from childhood traditions but do they actually work for you and your family? My friend refuses to cook, spends all day in her pajamas, and has pizza for dinner, and she has a great time.
4. Embrace the imperfection.
It's natural to want things to be perfect, but demanding perfection is a form of control and that never goes well! Relax. So the kids want to decorate the tree their way, the decorations are hand made, not symmetrically hung, and would never be featured in a glossy magazine. Who cares really but you?
5. Cheat if you want to.
I used to be THE worst for having to have everything homemade ... stuffing, bread sauce, you name it, and I would have slaved over a saucepan to create it. Now I am happy to buy store bought to make the day easier. I get to spend more time with my children and nobody notices the difference. Everyone remembers a big family meal around a table. The love, the laughter and the sharing. Nobody really cares whether the cranberry sauce comes out of a jar or not.
6. Ditch the judgement.
Your Uncle Jack is notoriously hard to buy for but you have found him the perfect gift. He opens it, frowns and places it to one side. How do you feel? Don't let the negative committee in your head tell you that you got it spectacularly wrong, that you have failed in some way, or even that he is an ungrateful pig. Take a breath and move on.
7. If you can't afford it, don't buy it.
It's not worth starting a new year stressed out and debt ridden. Ultimately the most important thing about the holidays is the memories you create. In ten years, your children will never remember what presents they received, but they will remember the togetherness. Find perfection in the love not the stuff.
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