Holiday Smarts

Tips for Managing the Busiest Holiday Season Ever

Simplify ~ Simplify ~ Simplify!  

Easier said than done… I am living testament to the difficulty of untangling the proverbial Xmas lights to find comfort and joy amidst the hot mess of  ‘not-missing-out on holiday activities. From Halloween to New Year’s society dials up the fires of what the Scots call the “Social Season.” It’s easy to default into living as ‘human doings’ instead of human beings.

To complicate matters further for those who live in diverse communities, globalization has conflated many wonderful cultural and religious winter traditions into commercial opportunities. There is something for everyone to celebrate at this time of year for sure! Yet while the hustle and bustle can be invigorating, some of us struggle to stay afloat in these frenetic times.

One little secret is to find MEANING in the small gestures and moments. To find sparkles of gratitude in everyday pleasures, such as a special cup of tea or a deep breath of fresh air. Then amidst the fray, to be kind to yourself.

So, here are a few more tips I have learned from mistakes, missteps, overcommitments, over-pleasing,  backfires and do-overs. Words of wisdom coming from women who figured it out way before I did. It’s not easy giving up old, heavily programed behaviors. And I still work to refine this list every year.

~Work Smarter, Not Harder~

~Sometimes, Less is More~

Greeting cards  ~ Mail early or in the New Year.  A few sentences of greetings can make a huge difference in staying connected over the miles.

It’s the thought that counts

Streamline shopping  ~ Make a list and stick to it. Shop local when possible. Gift bags save time! For large gatherings, games, name drawing for gifts, or silly socks for everyone on the list can make for fun time together. 

Simplify meal menus ~ Until recently, I held to tradition of hosting a large Christmas Day feast, where everyone squeezed around one table. But these days, I organize an appetizer, easy drinks, salad, main course and dessert. Or even better, POT LUCK! While home made is delicious, it also adds exponentially to the work load. Frozen or store prepared dishes are huge time savers.

Dishes go in the dishwasher ~ (unless you have a crew of elves, at your beck and call) Paper goods make the cleanup even easier. Of course, I still enjoy pulling out the china, crystal and silver for a special dinner, but at Thanksgiving and Christmas, the cook deserves to enjoy the day as well!

Find some inspiration…lights…hot chocolate … in the neighborhood or park, shopping center, or that special street that always gives the community the gift of lighted decorations. Don’t forget to look up into the night sky. Imagine the stars twinkling, if urban skies obscure them…. or better still, drive out in to the country to stargaze. Find a sense of wonder in firelight or an heirloom tree ornament.

Last but not least… find something to be grateful for!