My parents were here for Thanksgiving. We always watch the Macy’s Day Parade while getting our meal planning started. Although my parents now live in Virginia, they are both originally from up north and still dream of spending Thanksgiving in a fancy New York hotel room, with a great view of the parade. My mom loves seeing New York dressed for the holidays, the store fronts bulging with decorations and gift ideas. She relishes in the memories of roasted chestnuts in her childhood pockets and listening to carolers on the streets, while I start to panic writing a seemingly endless list of “to-do’s” that have to happen in just a matter of weeks.
Every year I try not to be a Scrooge. It takes effort to avoid getting overwhelmed by the holidays, but no matter what, it seems the feeling of panic starts settling in just after Halloween. Thanksgiving is overshadowed by the anticipation of Christmas cards, gift-giving, decorating, traveling and even receiving gifts. I had hoped that once my children outgrew the stories of Santa, my job would get easier. Unfortunately, their lists just keep getting more expensive as they age. And this year is particularly more challenging since I am home schooling for the first time. How in the world do you gift shop when one of your children is by your side all day long?
My doctor was smart to increase my Prozac.
So instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I’ve decided to make holiday resolutions to help alleviate some of the chaos. I am optimistic that this year will be less stressful, less burdensome and less overwhelming. After all, it is my holiday season too. I’d like to be able to participate for a change rather than just coordinate. Wouldn’t you?
My Top Ten Holiday Resolutions
- Hide the scale until February
- When possible, buy prepared food rather than spend hours in the kitchen while everyone else is enjoying the day.
- Set my kids’ gift expectations by giving them a dollar limit up front.
- Instead of buying individual gifts for friends, pick a universal theme i.e. holiday socks, ornaments, recipe swap.
- Delegate holiday decorating. Make it a game to see which family member has the most festive room.
- Delegate extended family gift buying so one person doesn’t have such a big job.
- Put deadlines on the calendar to help break down what you want to get done.
- Forgo the lengthy Christmas letter and just send out a photo card. Better yet, save the card for Valentine’s Day!
- Accept that it is okay to participate in the “class” gift for your teachers/coaches rather than buy or create more personalized gifts. Save those for the end of the year!
- Remind myself daily that the holidays are about family and community. Don’t lose focus.