5 Simple Ways to De-Stress for the Holidays

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(1) Simplify your shopping ~ If you’re into “shopping ‘til you drop,” and can do this without feeling overwhelmed, go for it!  Me?  I’ll pass on Black Friday craziness.  This year, I did most of my shopping online. It was fun and easy.  My daughter sent me links for her “wish list” and I clicked on the links, ordered the stuff, and voila, packages arrived like magic. Since she lives in another state, I had some of them sent directly to her, and enjoyed Amazon’s free shipping. I also bought my hubby’s gifts online, giving him the gift of fun stuff to do together, instead of the usual clothes!  I’m giving money to my young great-nieces and nephews, which de-stresses my pre-holiday preparation even more. 

(2) Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, don’t watch the news stations on television or the Internet.  All the bad news will raise your blood pressure and give you nightmares! Instead, pop in your favorite holiday movie (For me, it’s Elf, a Christmas tradition for me and my daughter), listen to some seasonal music, or read a good book. 

(3) Remember that the holiday party is about being with your loved ones – it’s about who’s at your table, not what’s on your table.  I used to be a fanatic, baking and freezing hundreds of cookies, picking out dozens of new recipes and overspending on food and other goodies, basically driving myself crazy because everything had to be perfect!

(4) Relax before bedtime by curling up in a chair and listening to meditative music on your Ipod or other player.  This is particularly relaxing when you turn the lights down low, light some candles, and enjoy the glow of your Christmas tree lights.  (That is, if you celebrate Christmas)  

(5) If you believe in a Higher Power, another wonderful way to relax and get into the spirit of the holidays is by reading a faith-based book. My current choice is The Inspirational Study Bible by Max Lucado, which provides life lessons along with the readings. Other options include books by Sarah Ban Breathnach (Simple Abundance), Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now) or other inspirational authors.  

Got Holiday Stress?

Frank and Marie“What do you want for Christmas, old lady?” 

My mother-in-law (God rest her soul) was simply not sentimental about the holidays. 

“Come on, ma,” her kids would say. “We’re all going to John’s (of Bill’s, or Edie’s, etc.) to celebrate the holiday.”

“What?” she would answer. “You want us to come over for Christmas? Oh God, it’s just another day. I’m stayin’ home. Hey, old man (her nickname for my father-in-law) get out that ceramic tree. Yea, put in on the coffee table. Ok, it’s Christmas.”

Then she’d light a cigarette and have a cup of coffee.

Come to think of it, she was also very un-stressed around the holidays.

“Where’s her Christmas spirit?” I wondered. Now I get the picture.

Take a look at my: Christmas past

  • Bake hundreds of cookies. layer nicely in gift boxes, wrap boxes. attach pretty bows. Give them to the whole family, including in-laws.
  • Make a list, check it twice, start buying presents in October.
  • Make handmade cards with my daughter for the family.
  • Make special ornaments, using ideas in women’s magazines.
  • Buy holiday stationary; write a special Christmas letter for family and friends (alright I only did that one year – that was enough for me!).
  • Order special desserts and candy from Swiss Colony.
  • Wrap multitudes of gifts.
  • Buy a bunch of little goodies to fill my daughter’s stocking to the brim.
  • Put up two trees and decorate with all those special handmade ornaments.
  • Host two Christmas parties.
  • Decorate every single room in the house.
  • Spend too much money.

Christmas present:

  • Bake a couple dozen cookies for the parties at work.
  • Glance at December edition of Good Housekeeping, roll my eyes and toss magazine in recycling box.
  • Shop for presents online (I love Amazon) and don’t even think about Black Friday shopping. 
  • Oh jeez, it’s December 21 and I haven’t sent out cards.  Hmmm, now that I have a Kizoa account, all I need to make is a Christmas collage and post in on FB! 
  • Stuff presents in gift bags on December 23rd.
  • Buy Starbucks gift card for daughter’s stocking.
  • Do we have to put up a tree? Oh fine, one in the family room but I’m not moving any furniture!
  • How in the heck can I get out of having a party?
  • Didn’t go over my budget! (LOL)

Christmas future: (Can you guess??)

  • Find my mother-in-law’s old ceramic Christmas tree and call it a day.  

Now, I know that some of you may enjoy all the hype and activity that goes along with Christmas – I envy your stamina!  Me, I’m beginning to understand my late mother-in-law’s mindset, with a little disclaimer. It’s not “just another day.” It’s about Christ’s birth. Not about all the gifts I can stuff into a stocking.

How do you de-stress during the holidays?