Preparing For the Holidays: Ho Ho Ho… or Bah Humbug!

Some of my clients dread the holiday season because it often represents stress, pressure, expectations, guilt, disappointment, pain, loneliness, exhaustion… and the list goes on.

This is a choice. We choose who we spend time with. We choose what activities we say yes and no to. We choose where we go. Your holiday season can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose to make it, and it can be a lot of fun if you plan accordingly.

Take some time this week to think about what’s most important to you this season, and then do a little planning. Here are some suggestions to help.

==> Create a list of holiday rituals that are important to you.

Seek your family’s input on holiday decisions. Ask family members what they liked and disliked about last year’s holidays. Write down the most important elements and activities you wish to include this year, and plan to make it happen.

Keeping time-consuming and irrelevant traditions or rituals “just because we’ve always done it december global holidays that way” can increase stress. Keep only those traditions that have meaning to you, or create some new ones.

Give yourself permission to be in the moment and enjoy the smells, sounds, feel, and tastes that are unique to this season of the year.

==> Make a list of those you want to spend time with during the holidays.

Who nourishes you? Who are the family members, friends, and colleagues you enjoy being with?

Do you want to do any entertaining? If so, when and with whom? Plan ahead and ask for help if you want it. True friends and loved ones will not care how many hours you slaved over the stove. Spending time with you is what they’ll cherish most. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to throw a great party!

Are you invited to holiday parties that you really don’t want to go to, but you’ve gone in the past because you should? Be at choice — don’t play the victim! This is not about whom you should see, but rather whom you choose to spend time with.

==> Mail your greeting cards, holiday letters, and packages early.

Some time-saving tips:

Write a short holiday letter that covers the highlights; copy it on holiday paper and add a note at the end to personalize it. Make a collage of pictures to photocopy on the back side of the letter.

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