We all know that certain times of year there seems to be not enough time to get everything done. December is most certainly the busiest time of year (I even missed posting a blog last week because of my commitments and chores). I listen to my clients grumble that they have to go buy this, or committed to bake that, and they can’t make their training sessions because they promised the kids they’d take them ice skating though they “haven’t the time or energy.”
But something I have learned in my quest to maintain a martyr free life is that no matter how busy, no matter how many things you think need to be done, there is always time to stop and smell the gingerbread! The Holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, not stress and forced smiles.
Ultimately all any of us really want is to spend time together in a relaxed atmosphere, enjoying a cup of hot-cocoa (always quick and easy to make) and just sharing good times. Even kids would rather have your attention at home playing a card game, than ice skating if it means that you are uptight and irritated by the crowded (and often expensive) ice rink experience.
Traditionally, the holidays were a time when families gathered to enjoy the comfort of a warm home, a hearty meal, and laughter around the table. Simple, and often homemade gifts were exchanged, and most importantly the holiday period itself was 2 days (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Now we suffer the onslaught of holiday regalia and commercialism starting as early as October! The pressure is on to buy, bake, decorate, celebrate goes on for way too long!
So I say step off the holiday bullet-train. None of this really matters in the long run. Life goes on, friendships continue, and a life less stressed is worth more than the gratitude of that gift you hastily purchased in a crowded mall when your budget was already shot.
Short on time, money or ideas for gifts – give homemade cards that offer a “lets go see a movie together in the new year” or an invitation to “dinner at our house next month,” etc. Give your kids arts & crafts gifts that you will make with them during the school break. Stay home and just be with your loved ones.
As for me I make the following promises to myself every year:
- I’ll make time for the gym but I won’t worry about my calories
- I will give thoughtful but affordable gifts and won’t worry about if I’ve given enough
- I will remember that Christmas dinner does not need to be an exhausting production – just put a turkey in a roasting bag, throw some veggies in a casserole dish, and pour lots of wine.
In the end if will be the relaxed fun around the table that my guests will remember and they will know I love them — which is all anyone really wants at the Holidays!