It's that time of year again, the holidays are here! This year is especially unique because Thanksgiving falls on an earlier day in the calendar year, fast forwarding the official holiday and shopping season ahead a few days compared to the previous season. Christmas and Thanksgiving are meant to be moments of appreciating family, slowing down, and celebrating. However, for many, especially in our commercialized culture, "Happy Holidays" translates more into a stress-filled anxiety-ridden curse.
The good news is, this can be changed. There are small, basic steps you and your family can take to ensure the next months are relaxing, and special. A good rule of thumb is to remember that these holidays are not about perfection. Let go of desires for certain expectations, and allow yourself the freedom to not be perfect. You don't have to purchase all of the best gifts, cook the tastiest pecan pie, or reinvent the wheel. The first step to reducing the stress level is recognizing the holidays have great potential to be stressful. Next, don't try and do it all. If one week fills up with five holiday parties, either choose two to attend, or only spend a few minutes at each, and give yourself some rest. Be sure to find time for yourself in the mad rush of it all. For example, use your lunch break to eat slowly with a good book by yourself, or to talk and laugh with friends. Be sure to get exercise, and limit your intake of sweets. Getting enough sleep and curbing the intake of alcohol at parties will also help your body deal with the demands of this time of year.
Shopping and purchasing gifts for everyone on your list can be daunting, and a huge stress factor. One idea is to purchase gifts online. This does include the added cost of shipping, but maybe that is worth it to you in order to avoid the throngs of people in malls this season. Internet shopping offers the perk of the convenience of your own home, anytime of day, and many times, there are neat gift ideas that just aren't available in stores! Also, it's important to remember to create a gift budget, and to stick with it-- this will alleviate stress in January when forgotten bills start arriving in the mail.
Remember, the point of the holidays is a celebration, eating, fellowship with friends and family, and giving out of generosity and love. Stay true to your needs this season, and embrace each special, once-a-year moment savoringly.
Below is a list of some sites to check out for gift ideas.