Let’s be honest, the joyous holiday season is sometimes not very joyous. The decorating and shopping and party going and hosting and cooking takes a toll on us. I didn’t even mention the cleaning for guests, the wrapping of presents, or the shelving of the elf.
And there are those members of the family that just lie around, soaking up the Christmas cheer while you do all the work.
All the hustle and bustle can zap us of our holiday cheer. I know you know that I know that you know. We all know the trick is to remember what the season is really about and to focus on the big stuff. To be clear, by big stuff I do not mean giant tins of caramel corn. There are techniques to avoid eating your holiday malaise because your visiting relatives are driving you bonkers. Here are some ways we cope with the Christmas crazy.
Crazy Christmas Coping Tip 1: Many Christmas’ past, my family decided to draw names instead of buying gifts for everyone. It’s quite possible that this is the best family decision we ever made. Here’s how it works in our jolly clan. After Christmas dinner, the adults each draw a name, and they buy for that person the next Christmas. This strategy gives us a year to shop for the perfect gift at the perfect price. There is a set dollar limit, and we keep track so that someone doesn’t draw the same name two years in a row. Everyone buys gifts for all the kids in the family (as it should be).
Crazy Christmas Coping Tip 2: Wassail, my friend. Yes, as in “Here we come a wassailing among the leaves so green…” It’s warm, it’s cinnamon-y, it’s divine. It’s an inexpensive cupful of winter warmth and cheer that guests will rave about. Plus, it’s just the thing to curl up with Christmas night when the kids are tucked away in bed and you can enjoy the blessings of the day like your family and your health and the existence of wassail.
Crazy Christmas Coping Tip 3: Why is setting reasonable expectations of ourselves and our time SO HARD? We feel like we can do it all and then some and still be creative and adorable to boot. We totally can be that person who hosts a gingerbread house party and makes her own gifts because we can do it all. But we shouldn’t have to. So we need to delegate. We need to make parties we’re hosting a potluck. We need to shop online to free up time and stress. We need not worry about getting it all done. Instead, we focus on doing what we realistically can accomplish and remember that those who love us don’t us judge us.
This goes without saying, but this season, try to remember what’s truly important. Pause and be grateful for your blessings. As life swirls on around us, the need to take a moment every day to be present and compassionate is more important than ever.
How Mer retains her sanity:
The majority of my holiday shopping is done online. We hit the stores here and there for little specialty gifts but otherwise I am Amazon Prime’s biggest fan!
Additionally, I’m cutting down on the hustle and bustle of this time of year by taking short cuts. Usually I bake cookies for all of my neighbors but this year I saw tins with shortbreads – 4 for $10 – at Sam’s Club. We have four neighbors, how convenient! Done.
I’m trying to focus on what’s important to me and my family and not stress about the rest.
In a crock pot or large stove top pot, combine 1 part oj to 1 part cranberry juice to 2 parts apple cider. Add rum or spiced rum to taste. Add ground cloves, ground cinnamon, and a pinch of allspice. Stud an orange with cloves and tie 2-3 cinnamon sticks together and drop them in the pot. Let simmer and serve hot. The alcohol will burn off after a while so you may need to add more.
Enjoy, and be sure to collect people’s keys!
How do you cope with holiday stress (besides running your feelings out)? What are your favorite holiday traditions? Does the Elf on the Shelf creep you out, too?