It’s the middle of December and the other day I came across a list of 25 expert ways to beat holiday stress. So, since I was feeling a little bit stressed I jumped right in. But I never got to the end because somewhere between getting more sunlight, avoiding crowds and sniffing citrus I started to get irritated.
Really? This is good advice?
When did we stop putting on our grown-up pants?
Here’s the thing. Stress happens even when things are “merry and bright” but add deadlines, traffic, crowds, budgets and a never ending “to do” list and it’s going to be an unavoidable recipe for disaster.
I thought to myself, “Why doesn’t someone write something that tells the truth and offers honest answers to avoiding stress during the holidays that aren’t wrapped up in layers of touchy-feely hogwash?”
And so I did.
- Make a list, no later than October, and then follow it – Christmas is a big event and anyone who thinks they can pull off a big event of any kind by waiting to the last minute is just plain stupid. Big events require planning. And even when advance plans are carefully made, something will still be overlooked or life will happen. Get used to it. (I made my list last week.)
- Use the Internet—stop complaining about crowds and traffic. Mail order was invented to make our lives easier (and make retailers tons of money) so use it. Most places guarantee Christmas delivery, even just days before. Don’t want to pay the extra shipping costs? Refer to #1.
- Remember the “Reason for the Season”—I was looking for a parking spot yesterday, no kidding, and I found a really great, really close one, which was awesome since it was raining. BUT, this other car wanted it too and took childish, evasive action to prevent me from pulling in easily. So I did the grown-up thing and spent fifteen minutes looking for another one, but not without seriously grumbling about the other idiot driver. Then I stopped and scolded myself, “It’s Christmas, let it go.” Totally worked. Yup, attitude really is everything.
Bottom line, “For unto us a child is given…” IS the “Reason for the Season” and has been since Christmas even became a thing. And it’s much bigger than ANY of our frustrations—every one of which is entirely our fault (#1 again). Of course, we can choose to take this to heart, or not. And that’s the beauty it.
But here’s the thing. The secret to completely avoiding holiday stress is very simple.
THERE ISN’T ONE.
Life doesn’t work that way. It never has. So just grow up and accept responsibility for doing what needs to be done.
And don’t forget your list.
Laura is a lover of reading, writing, sparkly things and whatever purrs, barks or flies. Former helicopter mom, co-dependent and enabler, Laura is now addicted to walking, her family and her iWatch. A teacher by day and writer by night, she is clearly the one learning the most and plan to keep it up until she gets it right. Choosing joy one day at a time and sharing her journey so others can see why it might not be found if we don’t look for it.