The Secret to Holiday Cheer

The beautiful floats have made their way through Manhattan. Every major city has lit its ceremonial Christmas tree.  Holiday music is playing on the radio, in stores and Alexa will even play your favorite Christmas Carols. 

Everyone around you seems to be embracing the holiday spirit and are in a “Holly Jolly” mood.  You, on the other hand, are already thinking, “How am I ever going to get this all done? I am a really stressed out.” 

Yes, every year, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, we undergo a crucial test to measure not only our stress level but our entire mental stability.  It’s called the Holiday Insanity Test. There is way too much to do and not enough time to do it.  We are supposed to be singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.  Instead we feel like “The Grinch who Stole Christmas.” We are feeling overwhelmed, under-appreciated, stressed and incredibly emotional.

What’s on our To Do list? Let’s see…there’s the social invitations, the planning, the food, the wine and the desserts.  Now let’s add the Christmas card list, the photos for the cards and the sometimes-difficult Vista Print ordering.  Everyone in your family has their list ready to hand over to Mrs. Claus –that is YOU! Now to find exactly what they want and get the order in before Christmas so that you can be the Designated Rapper –no that is Wrapper–wrapping all those Holiday gifts. 

It starts off slowly when we say things like, “I’m tired, I’m irritable and I have so much to do.”  As the days progress it worsens. We actually start talking to ourselves saying.   “Let me look at my To Do list again”. “It is humanly impossible to get all this stuff done.”  “I can’t believe Apple doesn’t have the damn I Pod Pro in stock –oh I mean Air Pod Pro or whatever!”

As your anxiety heightens, it starts getting personal.  “My husband does nothing, the kids want everything, and my boss is a pain where I sit”.  You know you’re ready to crack when you finally say, “I hate the Holiday Season.”  That is a sure sign that you are probably going to flunk the Holiday Insanity Test.

I’m here to remind you, “what you say is what you hear, and what you hear is what you believe.” So, if you’re thinking and saying that you will be stressed and miserable – then you will be right!  

This isn’t Halloween, so don’t be a wicked whiny witch and you certainly don’t want to be Scrooge’s Bah Humbug Bitch. It’s the time of year to have fun, enjoy your loved ones and of course, for Christians – a time to celebrate the birth of Christ.

So how can you enjoy the Holiday Season and pass the Stress Test?  I have the solution.  It’s my 3 V’s diet.   Vitamins, vodka and vanilla ice cream –lots of it.   I’m serious, the vitamins will keep you energized, the vodka will keep you happy and the vanilla ice cream will be your comfort food.   Remember I said “vanilla ice cream” –we don’t want chocolate or coffee.  In times of stress, caffeine is not our friend.

Now I’m going to give you a few hints on how to enjoy a Stress-Free Holiday:

(I’ve even tossed in a few gift giving ideas as well!)

  • Create your goals – what will help YOU really ENJOY the holidays?
  • Get organized and create a plan. –Does that sound familiar?
  • Steal a page from the holiday’s best multi-tasker…Make a list and check it twice!
    • On your list, Is it a “Must do” or a “Want to do” Review the list and eliminate everything that is not necessary.
    • Make sure you have a reality check here. –Can you really accomplish everything on your list?
    • Have you added in “fun” activities” that might help keep you in festive mood?
  • Abandon the Super Woman Syndrome. —Look for shortcuts
    • Instead of buying gifts for everyone in the family, suggest picking names and buying one more meaningful gift.
    • As we all know online shopping is mostly efficient.  Do all your online shopping EARLY to take advantage of “free shipping”
    • Costco, Whole Foods, Sam’s Club should be your new best friend.  Often times, the food they feature tastes as good if not better than homemade.  Costco’s stuffed peppers are better than my Mother made (Sorry Mom)
    • Give a “Later gift”. –Example if you love to bake—Make a certificate for cookies of the month –starting in January
    • Here is a great “secret” website:   You can get virtually ANY type of monthly, quarterly subscriptions. –Everything Bacon Club, Candle Club, Dog Treat Club, Popcorn Club and much more
    • Volunteer your time to someone on your list with a “good for one” coupons. (Dog sitting, babysitting friend therapy session or Karaoke night”). All after the Holidays
    • A Movie Package – DVDs, Popcorn & Movie Tickets.
  • When you’re out shopping, set a budget, stick to it
  • For my final piece of advice –schedule time for FAMILY FUN!  And remember the romance in your relationship.  As one very wise woman said, “The nicer you are to him in the bedroom, the more generous he is to you under the tree”. Who was that woman?  Oh, that was ME!!!  LOL

 Now let’s look at a few don’ts:

  • Don’t decide it’s time to redecorate the whole house- –do that after the Holidays
  • Don’t create false expectations – forget the losing 10 lbs by Christmas, laser hair removal, joining the Peace Corps and becoming an Olympian – there’s no time!
  • Don’t do everything –Example for Christmas Dinner –Ask everyone to bring something they love. Or find a grocery market with a fully prepared meal for a reasonable price.
  • Create a Gift Wrap Theme – make it simple and get it done! One year, I used the comic section of the newspaper paper and added bright colored ribbon.  If you choose a particular wrapping paper for each person in your home, it’s really easy to give out the gift on Christmas Day.
  • Hire yourself a high school or college student who can be your Christmas “elf.” Often, they need extra money so they will run errands or wrap gifts for a great price.

Holiday Cheer comes with organization, discipline and a great plan (if you stick to it!) Come to think of it, success in everything we do has those same three components.

As we well know, women set the tone for the household – if you’re enjoying yourself and having fun, so too will everyone else. Let’s make a pact: 

Take a deep breath, relax, smile and sing your favorite Christmas Carol.  I guarantee you will pass this year’s Holiday Insanity Test with flying colors.

And if by chance, you’re beginning to feel overwhelmed –there’s always that Vodka Martini!

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