As We Head Towards Christmas, Remember These 10 Things

For those celebrating Christmas next week, we are diving into what I fondly like to call “crazy season.” There are ninety-seven cards to send out, forty people to buy presents for, seventeen parties to attend, fourteen guests to pander to, eight batches of cookies to make.

The list goes on…

Whether you are hosting, caroling, volunteering, shopping, cooking, attending, driving - remember that everyone else is feeling a little joyous, a little stressed out, too. Treat each other kindly, but perhaps more importantly, treat yourself kindly.

If you don’t, you are going to miss the good stuff happening right in front of you.

And so, like I’ve done in years past, here’s a list of things to remember when stress peaks:

  1. It’s not selfish to take care of your body and mind. Don’t mess with your sleep routine if you can help it. Exercise everyday. Eat as best as you can. Carve out a few minutes to do you. Meditate. Read. Journal. Listen to music. These things make you a better human (daughter, son, friend, mother, father, sister, brother), and right now, that’s all that matters.

  2. The surface reason you’re stressing out is probably not the real reason. If you follow your stress all the way down, it will come to head at some deeper insecurity. Maybe it’s worry that your mother in-law won’t approve or that your kids won’t think Santa loves them. Calm yourself and address that.

  3. Take a step back and ask yourself what matters this season. Is it the number of presents under the tree? Is it looking perfect for Christmas Eve mass? Is it how the roast comes out? No, silly. What really matters?

  4. In a year, no one is going to remember if you made that eighth batch of cookies or not. For real, chill… they love you. You’re great.

  5. Your presence is more valuable than the presents you buy. This is so hard to wrap our heads around, but it’s true. As Maya Angelou says, “At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”

  6. If you are an adult child, remember, even when you are at “home”, you are still an adult. If you pay your own bills, you are no longer held captive by your parents beliefs, values, or wishes for your life. Be respectful and accept their feedback. But remember, if they are being mean - you do not have to cower at their criticisms anymore.

  7. On another note, if your parents are still alive - cherish them. There’s only so many chances left for you to spend this kind of time together. In fact, if you are over 18, there are so few it’s insane. You’ll miss them when they are gone (no matter how annoyed you may feel today). For more on this, read this article called The Tail End.

  8. Holidays amplify what you already are feeling. If you feel lonely, these days only highlight that. If you feel stressed, overwhelmed, and insufficient - it’s likely that you’ve been feeling that way for awhile now. Take some time to reflect, readjust, and think about why that is, what you want to feel instead, and how you could make it so.

  9. Give a little. You may not have a lot, but throw a few pennies in the Salvation Army can. Donate a canned food item. Adopt a little kid through an online program. Invite a stranger to dinner. Donate all your presents. Whatever you can give, I promise it will feel way better than getting.

  10. Before you know it, it will be over. Savor the good parts - the movies you like, beers with friends, the tree decorating, etc. You have to wait another 11/12 months for this season to roll around again.

Any other suggestions? Comment below!

Kate Ward