The holiday season is upon us and there's a lot to do. Sometimes there's too much to do and cards get done at the last minute, gifts wrapped at midnight (or minutes before they're to be opened), and before you know it, the holidays are gone.
I was raised in an Italian family and my grandmother taught me a few things. But what I learned the most from her wasn't in her words, but her actions. She worked really hard on cleaning, cooking and keeping the house in great order. I lived with my grandparents most of my childhood and what always amazed me was the hard work she put into the season.
To help you, I have three simple tips on having a calmer holiday season:
With 2 weeks until Christmas, if you celebrate the holiday, now's the time to look at what you have left to do and trim that list. There are only so many hours to buy gifts, cook, clean, wrap, see friends, go out, etc. If you have a long list of things to do, ask for help from a spouse, child or friend. Instead of taking more and more on, look at what you have left to do, be realistic in what you can achieve and then move forward. Taking on too much and not saying "No," is only going to stress you out and help ruin the holidays for you.
The phrase "stop and smell the roses" makes sense, but how often do you do it? I know that I'm often rushing around trying to get everything done and then collapse exhausted. But your kids are only little once. The times when your whole family gets together and enjoys the season may not be that often. In my family, many have passed on or moved away. There are only a few of us left in the same geographical area and our traditions have changed for the holidays. But taking time to be with family and friends can not only be healing, but a blast. Be mindful of your time and cherish it.
We might give gifts to others, but are they gifts of the heart? Sometimes the best gift doesn't cost a lot of money (or is free). A hug, a letter or sharing an experience with someone (dinner date, going roller skating--whatever!) can be the best of gifts. This holiday season remember to give from the heart, but I'd remind you to remember to give of your time or a financial donation to a charity of your choice. There are many people or pets who need assistance. I do hope you find it within your heart to help others during this holiday season. (My charity of choice is Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to help kids with cancer.)
I hope these tips help and that you and your family enjoy the best of the holiday season!