Help! Help! The Holidays!
The other day, I realized that Christmas was right around the corner. I was almost broadsided by a driver who wasn’t looking for oncoming cars! She zoomed across the intersection and wasn’t paying attention. Fortunately for both of us, I have quick reflexes thanks to my years of martial arts (Aikido) training!
During this time of year, retail parking lots can feel like a demolition derby! I inch around corners, drive extra slowly, and hope that someone won’t be speeding off to buy the next present. Honestly, I have developed a fear of going to the Mall during the holiday season!
I know, I am starting to sound like a holiday Grinch.
Well, I might be a little.
In addition to the festive and joyful aspects of the holidays, many grown-ups get stressed out. There is so much to do, little time to do it in, and people can get overwhelmed. I am still trying to figure out what to get for my family’s yearly Yankee gift exchange. Gifts, I have been informed, should be between $25-40. But what can I buy that no one has ten of? I’m worried that a gift card will make me look lazy. I’m stumped.
At a restaurant, I overheard a Dad explaining the day’s agenda to his two young children, “We have to go to get a present for grandpa and grandma, go to the post office and mail them, stop off at Aunt Mary’s, pick up our tree, decorate it, and go to a dinner at Uncle Joe’s.” OMG! The kid’s eyes start to glaze over!
It can be a sad time for families too. My wife has a close friend whose husband was just diagnosed with cancer a few weeks ago. My brother died over 30 years ago, but the last time I saw him was during the Christmas holiday. During the holiday season, I especially miss him. It can be a lonely time for some adults that don’t have family nearby or who have a strained relationship with their relatives.
Money troubles can be tough too. Buying gifts on a tight budget is stressful. There is still high unemployment in our country.
So what can folks do?
- Nurture realistic expectations. Maybe my gift won’t be the most creative of our family’s. So what! It doesn’t have to be. Not every holiday is a ten. That’s okay too. If this is a financially tough time, don’t overdo it. Give thoughtful, inexpensive gifts.
- Take time to relax. Easy for me to say! But seriously, leave time for a hot bath, a quiet evening at home in-between family or friend obligations, a special treat, like a massage, or some quiet time just for you. I belong to a gym with a great sauna. I take some extra time to melt away my tensions during the holiday season.
- Set limits. It’s hard to be all things to all people! And it’s also not possible to be two places at the same time. It’s not your job to make everyone happy! Remember, no one ever died from disappointment.
- Focus on what is important to you during the holiday season. It’s probably not about the gifts. It’s about family time, traditions, and celebrating the love you feel for the people in your life. Focus on what’s important to you. Serve those values and beliefs as the main dish of your holiday feast.
How is the holiday season for you? How do you keep the important traditions alive in your family?