Well here we are…fall and I love the fall weather! However, fall also signifies the start of the holiday season; a season that brings about much stress and overwhelm.
I use to love the holiday season. I enjoyed buying things for friends and family, getting together for large family dinners, attending parties, etc., but not so much anymore. Over the years, one struggle after another has diminished my enjoyment of these things. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
This year I plan to head into the holiday season with a fresh new attitude and use some tools to help reduce the stress and enjoy them more.
Halloween – I have always felt guilty over the years about Halloween and taking my kids Trick-or Treating and no one being home to hand out candy at my house. Some people leave the candy out for kids to take but it only takes a couple of unsupervised kids to wipe out the bowl. A couple of years ago, I decided to take the candy with me and hand it out as we walked down the street. Silly as it sounds, it worked out well and helped to eliminate my guilt. It was even more fun for my kids (and now my granddaughter) to be able to hand out the candy as we walked.
Thanksgiving – For most of my life I had always gone to my mother’s or aunt’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. I would help with by chopping veggies or running to the store for last-minute items or bring what I was asked to bring. It wasn’t until four years ago that I actually cooked my first Thanksgiving meal at home. That in itself was stressful and chaotic but I was so proud of myself for doing it. This year my daughter, granddaughter and myself will be cooking dinner together and I plan to make it as stressless as possible.
- We will use paper plates and cups and plastic utensils to make clean up easier.
- We will probably make Stove Top Stuffing (because we love it) and frozen rolls.
- There will be canned vegetables as well as frozen.
- There will be no fancy place settings or decorations (well maybe some flowers).
There is nothing in the rule book that says, “to be thankful you must do things this way” so we will be doing it our way. If anyone joins us for dinner and they do not like the way it is done, they are free to go somewhere else. I must say, it has worked out quite beautifully the past couple of years.
Christmas – As with most people, this is the one holiday that brings me the most stress and often depression. I put such high expectations on myself to make this a wonderful holiday for everyone else and just plummet into guilt and depression when I don’t meet those expectations. Well, not this year. My financial situation is such that I really don’t have any extra this year so I must plan accordingly.
Dinner will be just as it is for Thanksgiving – simple and stressless.
I will only purchase gifts for my children, granddaughter and boyfriend and I will not spend an exorbitant amount of money on them. My days of buying for friends and other family members is over for now. I can not and will not feel guilty about it. It’s funny because I’m the only one that puts expectations on myself – not my family.
There will be an artificial tree, as there is most years, and I will let my granddaughter do most of the decorating. She has done it herself the past two years and though sometimes a little lopsided with decorations, it is beautiful.
I will be sure to do the things I want to do, like take a drive and look at Christmas lights, and say no to the things I don’t want to do, like shopping at the mall.
I will not feel guilty for my lack of money or energy this year. If I start to slip that way, I will remind myself about the true meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate. My family and friends know how much I love them and I don’t have to run myself into the ground proving it.
So, with the holiday season approaching, I will just continue to coach myself along the way and make sure I am taking the time to enjoy them, not stress about them.
How will you handle the holidays this year?