The holiday season can be stressful for anyone. It seems like each year, despite the continued upheaval of the economy, the stakes for buying bigger and better grows. A friend of mine posted on Facebook that it’s strange, and sad, that we spend the day with friends and family being thankful for what we have only to turn around the day after, or hours in some cases, and trample others to get more stuff.
I’m not saying buying gifts is bad. I love buying presents for my loved ones. It’s a great feeling to find that perfect thing (like those gifts found in my previous two posts) and getting to see the surprise and excitement on their faces when they open whatever it is I got them. But feeling the pressure of the holiday season isn’t fun either.
So here are:
Runner Sami’s Five Easy Ways to Survive the Holidays (and Still Enjoy Them!)
1. Set ground rules – As my siblings and I grew older and our respective families expanded it got more challenging to buy presents for everyone, so a few years ago we decided to change the game. Now we draw names amongst the siblings with everyone still buying presents for our parents and vice versa. We also set a monetary cap which eliminated excessive spending.
2. Spend time not money – Sometimes it’s easier to focus on work or shopping or one of the other million things that need to get done during what can be a hectic season. Instead of getting lost in the holiday shuffle, find inexpensive or free events you can do with your friends and family. There are always a bunch of events happening this time of year like Santa visits, carriage rides (often free when part of a town’s holiday events), or festive music. Or make a plan to have a family night where you drive to a neighborhood that has a lot of lights or stay inside and make cookies while watching your favorite holiday movies.
3. Enjoy the moment – Remember what’s truly important to you instead of getting bogged down by your holiday to-do list. Take time to reflect on everything good and positive in your life both now and in the past year. If you find yourself overwhelmed, take a moment, step back, and be thankful for those blessings in your life.
4. Run away – Literally! Exercise is one of the best ways to keep away those holiday blues and manage stress. So make a point of taking some time each week to run or go for a walk so you can decompress and come back to your routine refreshed and rejuvenated.
5. Give without receiving – While I’m a big proponent of giving year-round, the holidays are an especially great time to remember those who don’t have all the luxuries that you might have. It’s also a good way to teach your kids or youngsters in your life how life isn’t always about getting stuff, it’s about helping others too. This time of year it’s easy to find toy drives or homeless shelters or animal shelters to which you can donate your time, gifts and money. And you’re setting a good example for others in your life to do the same!