We all feel it, the impending Holiday Season pressure. And we all set high goals and expectations for being ready early this time.
Yeah, right! Keep dreaming.
So how to stop the dread from creeping into your happy holiday place? Aside from boarding up the windows of your favorite shops, beating up the mailman for bringing you catalogs and turning off your internet, it's hard to fend off the assault of "Buy me, I'm the perfect gift!"
So what do we do? First, sit back and RELAX.
Think about the holidays from a different perspective. Not about the presents. But the presence of mind and heart. The pleasures of the holidays: the smell of winter spices, savory and sweet, the people you love and actually want to see at this time of year, the beauty of twinkling lights and the chill in the air.
The obligatory family gatherings and company parties can make some people wish they were Ebeneezer Scrooge before his epiphany. But why? Because we can't say NO. We do it to ourselves by setting ourselves up to fail. Taking on more than we can handle, saying yes, when we know it's going to put us under. The pressure to please everyone on our 'list' is the nemesis of a truly Happy Holiday.
We must force ourselves to make a new list. The first ones on this list should be your immediate family: spouse, children, you, period. Yes, it's hard, but so is the economy. People will understand. They might even be relieved. If you absolutely must include a few others, think intimately, near and dear to your heart. Not, well- I really should get something for so and so... Now think handmade. Think creatively. What do you do well? It doesn't have to be something you make. How about something you're good at? How about bartering with someone who is creative and needs your services? What about the age old idea of thoughtfulness... Forget about the gift cards. Make your own gift card or something you can put your heart into. The possibilities are endless, if you slow down long enough to think about them. How many of us have looked back on the holidays after the rush is over, only to think: Oh, why didn't I get her/him this or that? Or wow, what was I thinking, I should have done...?
If we really dwindle our list down to those who are nearest and dearest, then you should actually know them very well. You just have to think about it while relaxing and imagining it. Not running around the mall, a big box store or sitting in traffic counting off all the things you haven't done yet. Just a little thoughtful time can save hours of aggravation, impulsively spent money and your sanity.
Take charge of your holidays, don't let them overrun you. Know when it's time to say No, take a breather, treat yourself to a hot chocolate (or a toddy!), a bubble bath or a walk with a loved one. Clear your mind of the daze of confusion and make these days fun, happy and memorable.