Shoppers descend like a pride of lions scouting a waterhole—$100 TVs substitute nicely for zebras!—and tackle their prey with coupon-throwing ferocity. Aunt Fay is still reeling from the Thanksgiving political debate gone awry while just trying to pass the mashed potatoes to Uncle Ed. A gigantic light display flashes like a strange holiday rave on the corner of my development while Up On The Housetop plays on loop for weeks.
Ah, the holidays. We missed you.
It’s survival of the fittest, or at least survival of the most prepared, during the holiday hype where sugar plums dance above our spinning heads. Even a trip to the grocery store is a lesson in stealth and agility! Dasher, dancer and prancer—forget deer names, those are just what people have to do in order to get a container of cranberry sauce in aisle nine!
You need a strategy. Some tips, tricks, and notes to develop a plan.
School programs, parties, work socials, musicals and at least 200 other events are waiting to fill up your calendars. Family meals are scheduled and ready for celebrations (and we all know that certain cousin we all have that nobody is really desperate to sit next to at the dinner table…).
“5 Tips On How To Survive The Holiday Season”
The list you didn’t know you needed. It may not have tips on how to Not React To Aunt Jenna’s New Hair Color That Changes Every Year but let’s be honest—there may not be much preparation for that.
1) Take Time For Yourself
Everyone is having a party. Family events are happening every weekend (and the family photos! “Okay now we need all the men!”, “Oh, next we need all the cousins over age 12!”, *repeat*).
Joyous occasions and chattering interactions are fun. Really, they are. But you need some you time. Quiet times to rejuvenate. A few minutes to reflect on the day. A walk by yourself. A bath while listening to your favorite music. Personal time is scarce—so you need to carve out some moments for you. After all, doesn’t “holiday” mean “an event where no work is done?”
2) Do Something New
So you might not go all out and try bobsledding—but do try something new! Even if it’s switching up a classic tradition—adding a dash of new ingredients to your masterful recipe. Don’t be afraid to start new traditions with friends and family. Add some humor to your holiday by dressing up your dog for a festive photoshoot.
Go out and learn to ice skate. Sometimes adding a certain freshness to a routine is exactly what the doctor ordered.
3) Stop Panicking About Diets
Someone once said “if you have cake, eat it immediately!” Okay, I actually just said that—but it still rings true. Of course you want to be careful, and this isn’t to downplay being healthy at all, but allow yourself to splurge a little. Eat that extra piece of pie (or two or three). Food is a staple in traditions for a reason—dig in!
Some of the best meals happen at this time of year. Go ahead, indulge for the season (besides, January and all those good resolutions are right around the corner!)
4) Allow Yourself to Say “No”
Sometimes it’s best to know limits. Take this from someone who says “yes” to everything, doesn’t sleep, and lives on highly-caffeinated sweet tea 24/7. Someone asks you to bake all the cookies for the party?
Politely decline. It’s important to enjoy the holiday and realize you don’t have to be superhuman. Once stretched too thin, it’s difficult to get back to normal. Step back, evaluate what you can handle, and go from there.
5) Embrace The Holiday Busyness
That’s right—embrace this time. It might seem odd, it might seem to go against everything else on the list. How do we accept chaos and still survive? It’s important to see the season for what it is—a celebratory time of people connecting.
It can span an eclectic mix of cultures and traditions. Wherever you go, there is a rising sense of anticipation and excitement around each turn.
You are now equipped and ready to (cue drum roll, please) face the holiday season! Go ahead and print this list out, stick in on the fridge (or on little note cards like I do) and get ready.
Yes, it’s a time when the ‘12 Days of Christmas’ goes through a musical transformation to meet every strange top-12 list imaginable (‘The 12 Obscure Condiments of Christmas!’ ‘The 12 Best Dog Breeds of the Season!’) and Candy Canes suddenly become an additive for every beverage (please don’t add Crumbled Minty Holiday Cheer onto my whipped cream, thank you).
My friend may tell the story about ‘How He Was Almost Attacked By A Llama’ for the record 64th time over the holiday meal. Mr. Bell’s giant, inflatable reindeer down my street continues to provide a less-than-pleasing lawn decoration during the month of December.
But these things welcome me home. To my traditions. My experiences. My memories.
My mom would always say “Some clutter in a house is a sign of a home well-lived in.” And I think she’s onto something. Although this time of year can be overwhelming, I’m beginning to see it as a season full and “well-lived in.” A time that can be messy, but for the right reasons. Messiness is a sign of activity—of excitement, anticipation, creation, and innovation.
It’s crazy. It’s busy. It’s chaotic. But we’re doing it all together. Classic traditions grow stronger as we also create new ones. Big changes are accompanied by the comfort of knowing that some things will never change—a delightful combination.
I’ve started to realize there might be a beauty in this bustling busyness—a season “well-lived in.”
Take some moments to relax, try new things, eat some delicious treats, decline some responsibilities, embrace the holiday bustle, and—most importantly—buckle up. Because the holidays are here. Are you ready?