“The true Christmas spirit is putting others’ happiness before our own, and finding you’ve never known such happiness.” —Toni Sorenson
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . ”
While that’s the goal and the intention, it’s often not the reality. Some folks admit, and lament, that the holiday season wins as the most stressful time of year. And what a shame that is. So, here are some tips toward achieving a holiday season that truly is the “Most wonderful time of the year.”
Let’s address the areas that can so quickly put a damper on the merriness and joy we desire.
For many, Christmas shopping has become a dreadful chore. But even if shopping is your thing, the crowds and packed parking lots, all that store-hopping to get the best price and the race to secure the hottest items can wear out even the hardiest shopper.
Make shopping excursions more productive by creating a thorough list of gift items to purchase. Make the experience more enjoyable by asking a friend to accompany you. And don’t forget to save time for a fun lunch or a stop at the coffee shop to celebrate surviving the experience.
Remember that online shopping can save not only time but aggravation as well. Perusing websites while snuggled under a warm throw in the recliner does have definite appeal. Consider grouping gift purchases to save on shipping costs and warn the family not to open any of the array of packages stacked on the porch.
Avoid the worry over missing a name on your gift list or of unexpected guests dropping in by stowing a few general gifts, such as chocolates, in the back of the linen closet.
All that cooking!
As one young man remarked, “I can’t wait on the “awesome breakfasts” and “amazing dinners,” and oh yeah, “that one Christmas punch” that marks family festivities each Christmas.” He was quite partial to decorated sugar cookies as well, yet blissfully unaware of the time and effort that went into the delectable cuisine he looked forward to each year.
Create a plan to lighten the work of those treats and trimmings that would be sorely missed from your holiday menus. Assign folks to bring a dish or two to the big family dinner. Invite family and friends to an afternoon/evening of baking to knock out the traditional cookie and candy favorites. Rally the family to be kitchen assistants when preparing for that holiday party—fetching items from the fridge or pantry, emptying the trash, loading the dishwasher, setting the table.
Make a list of all the grocery items you can purchase in advance, as well as a perishables list for each week. Check it twice or even thrice, to avoid those frustratingly time-consuming, last-minute dashes to the store.
If you dread the thought of an afternoon, a day, or a week with visiting relatives who tend to get under your skin, you’re not alone. Being family doesn’t guarantee against clashing perspectives, opposing political views, or brash opinions. Unfortunately, friction between family members when all should be “merry and bright” is a common occurrence.
Rather than skip the festivities, initiate some ground rules that touchy, potentially offensive subjects are off-limits. Lead the way toward a time of family-friendly getting along by bringing a stash of board games and a stack of classic Christmas movies along with a sincere smile and spirit that can’t help but be contagious.
Keeping the “healthy” in Christmas
“Christmas is notoriously a time to indulge, but don’t let this be the green light to overindulge!” notes the . “You can still enjoy all the festivities of the season and get through the Christmas period without too much impact on your health and waistline.”
These practical tips will help—
Eat a snack or small nutritious meal before attending a holiday party.
Be extra vigilant at regular mealtimes, so that a bit of indulging at holiday gatherings won’t make a huge impact.
Drink lots of water and limit festive holiday beverages to one serving.
VicHealth’s CEO, , advice makes sense. “Everything in moderation is a really good outlook to have. Pile your plate with veggies to have with your Christmas ham, then go for a walk around the block to warn off a food coma.”
And finally, a suggestion that fits nicely into both the “happy” and “healthy” department.
“We’re only as healthy as our community, so it’s important to remember those less fortunate than us as well,” reminds Rechter. “Helping others not only contributes to a healthier society but also makes us feel good, so it’s a win-win.”
Look throughout the community for opportunities to donate time, money, and clothing, or household items. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter. Invite those with no family to celebrate with you in your home. Involve your children in giving-of-themselves opportunities. Share Christmas joy by hosting a night of caroling with the elderly residents of a care facility. The possibilities are virtually limitless if one genuinely looks for occasions to embody the spirit of Christmas.
From our homes to yours, sends the warmest of wishes for a joyous and healthy Christmas to each of our valued clients. It has been our pleasure to service the staffing needs of your company this past year, and we look forward to a continuing partnership with you in 2020.