We all love Christmas, right? Wrong. Take some time this year to ask your family, friends, or coworkers how they feel about the holidays, and you might be surprised to find out that many of them are pretty, “Bah, humbug!”
It always kind of kills my Christmas spirit a little to hear just how unamused so many people feel during the holiday season, but come December 24th, I totally get it. My parents are divorced. I live far away from my divorced parents. My mother and father in law live in Florida. It’s the end of the year, so vacation time is limited at best. Add a little dash of Christmas-is-only-one-day spice, and it’s a recipe for chaos.
Oh! And it’s not like time is the only bump in the road when it comes to the holidays. What about all the people you need to buy for? All the food that needs cooked? Cards? Parties? Pleasantries? The list goes on and on, and even my usual cool as a candy cane self starts to feel a little sweaty palmed when I think about all that’s left to buy and do.
My friends, you are not alone in this stress; everyone’s feeling it. I’m hoping to lessen your holiday burdens a little with this post by talking about the basics: controllables and uncontrollables.
Your sister is always late.
Your weird uncle gets drunk and starts talking about politics.
Someone always drops the pumpkin pie.
A child gets the stomach bug.
Snow impedes your plans.
The dress you wanted to wear has a tear.
Your parents get into a huge fight.
I could carry on forever, but you get the point: these are things you are not in control of.
So, what to do about what you can’t control? It’s December 14th. Take a deep breath today, then take a moment of silence and mourning for what’s to come that’s entirely out of your hands. And remind yourself that half of this stuff, you’ll laugh about and remember warmly later. Letting it go is truly all you can do.
Now for Controllables
Oddly enough, of the people I know who feel panicked about the holidays, most of their stresses land in the controllable category, haha. “I still have so many gifts to buy!” “I haven’t wrapped anything!” “I. am. broke.”
If you can remember just this, you’ll be golden, and @thedailybaileyblog put it best: “Christmas is the same day each year.”
LOL. I’ve never even had to say this to myself because it’s not entirely uncommon for me to have bought a few Christmas gifts in summer, but for all of you out there shopping barren stores on Christmas Eve, that should be your mantra: “Christmas is the same day each year.” So, plan for it!
Have trouble budgeting and find yourself broke after the holidays? Take a moment to estimate what you typically spend on gifts for everyone on your list. 1,000 dollars? Okay, if you work a standard schedule and receive 26ish paychecks a year, put 39 dollars into savings from each paycheck starting with the first one you receive after Christmas. 39 dollars seems a pretty sweet price to pay to eliminate your financial stress during the holidays!
Still have so many gifts to buy? Again, Christmas is the same day each year. There’s definitely a happy medium between the last minute shopper and… me, for instance, but I think we can all find it. I start dealing with my Halloween costumes the first cold morning in August, and when they’re finished a week later, my brain is all Christmas, all the time. See something your mom has had her eye on while you’re out and about? Snag it in October. Heck, snag it in July! As long as it’s not a tank top, it will likely be appropriate come December. Don’t let December 25th creep up on you every year.
Haven’t wrapped a thing? Bring it to my house, I’ll wrap it for you! Kidding. (Well, sort of kidding. I love to wrap, so if we know each other and you need help, I got you!) Fun fact: I got my wrapping paper at Hallmark right around Halloween and their giant rolls were buy one get one free. Look out for deals like this! Watch a couple of Youtube videos on wrapping. Throw on some Netflix and power through, but do it early!
Even if you followed the above advice you’d still be stressed? Here’s a novel idea. Don’t do gifts. Yup, I said it and meant it. A coworker of mine asked me if I was done shopping the other day, and when I reciprocated the question, she said, “Oh, we’re not doing gifts this year! It’s saved us a bunch of time, so we’ve all been able to see each other more.” It absolutely touched my heart, because at the end of the day, is that not the best gift of all? A stress free holiday with ample time for friends and family? Sounds like a dream to me! I know for a fact that my family would agree to this!
My last advice? Set yourself some personal motivation. Why do I have Christmas ticked and tied weeks in advance? I’ll tell you why! Because I absolutely love to lounge around the fireplace with the tree lit, watching Christmas movies I’ve seen 100 times with not a care in the world. Maybe you want to nix stress early so you can start saving for a winter vacation. Maybe you want to be done because you’ve got to travel during the holidays to visit family. Whatever your motivation, find it and let it drive the stress away!
In closing, and much easier said than done, we tend to put all this imaginary pressure on Christmas when really, all anyone is interested in is hanging out with their loved ones and honoring any kind of magic you’re celebrating!
@shutupcrystal is vlogging daily on her Youtube channel!
@thedailybaileyblog is blogging daily here!
xoxo it’s all a bunch of jingle jangle!