Guest post by M.K. Clinton
The holidays are here and there is no avoiding them any longer. It doesn’t matter whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanza this time of year can be very stressful. That’s really a shame because it truly can be the most wonderful time of the year. The trick is not to get caught up in the madness that ensues this time every year. I know that sounds simple enough, but it is easy to become overwhelmed with shopping, baking and decorating. Here are a few tips to surviving the holidays.
Be realistic. Don’t put too much on yourself this year.
- Avoid the crowded stores by shopping during the week or online. Set a budget and stick to it. If you are still paying off the bills from last Christmas, you probably overspent!
- Instead of slaving over a hot stove for hours, choose recipes that can be prepared in advance and frozen. You can always avoid the stress by ordering your cakes, candies and pies.
- Mail early. I know that you hear that every year, but it is true. The longer that you wait, the longer the lines at the post office. Nobody has time for that!
- Remember that even though you love Santa Claus, to your child or pet, he can be terrifying. Especially, if you have used him as a threat to make your kids behave. Don’t expect a “Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus” moment. It usually turns out to be more of “A Christmas Story” and the Red Ryder BB gun scenario.
- Christmas tree decorations look like shiny playthings to your cat and dog. Dog tails can knock ornaments off and cats might enjoy climbing the new indoor tree! It is best not to put your heirloom glass baubles on the lower limbs.
- If you wrap dog treats or cat nip and put them under the tree, you are asking for trouble. Your pet doesn’t understand the “Do not open until Dec. 25th” sticker on the brightly colored package. They smell it, they open it.
- Expect the unexpected. Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a person than when they receive a gift from someone and have nothing to reciprocate. This is why there are so many incidents of re-gifting each year. You suddenly have to scramble to return the gift giving gesture. Don’t worry about it. Sometimes people actually give you a gift and expect nothing in return.
- If you have an office party, do not over-indulge in the spirits. You don’t want to end up on Santa’s naughty list because you told the boss what you really thought of the Christmas bonus. Remember, alcohol does not make you a better dancer, singer or comedian. Never drive after you’ve been drinking. Just don’t.
- Take some time to enjoy the Christmas lights in your city. Load everyone up in the car, tune into some holiday carols on the radio and go admire the houses or stores that are decorated. No matter your age, there is something magical about Christmas light displays.
- This is the season of love and forgiveness, so be sure to give that gift to yourself. You are one-of-a-kind and that makes you very special. Loving you leads to taking better care of yourself. Avoid negative self-thoughts. If there is something that you aren’t happy with in your life, change it. Nobody else can do that for you.
- Forgive yourself. There are times where you just have to let things go. You aren’t responsible to fix the world’s problems. People make mistakes and you’re no exception. It is easier to forgive someone else’s shortcomings than our own. Let’s all forgive ourselves for things that we’ve done in the past. 2016 is a brand new start and you will hopefully have 365 chances to get it right!