How to enjoy the holidays…all of the magic, none of the stress


December brings the holidays, and with them, good times – plus a huge helping of stress. Here are some hints on how you can enjoy this magical time of the year without stressing out.


1- Plan ahead

It’s December 22 and… you’ve already wrapped all the presents! If that sounds like dreaming in technicolour, think about it – it’s perfectly possible when you plan ahead. Give yourself a mid-December deadline for having all the presents under the tree, or at least hidden away in a corner of your closet. You’ll also need to finalize the menu and make up your grocery list. Then you’ll be able to welcome the holidays sitting by the fire sipping wine… angst-free.


2- Lower your expectations

Christmas comes with the pressure to make everything “perfect.” A perfectly set table, perfectly cooked turkey dinner, the house perfectly decorated. You know Uncle Bill’s bound to spill wine on the tablecloth and dinner will be at least an hour late, but does that really matter? How about the expressions on the kids’ faces when they see Santa Claus? Just think how lucky you are to be with people you love, sharing a festive meal.


3- Learn to say no

Between the office party and all those dinner invitations, exhaustion can soon set in. But it’s perfectly fine to refuse an invitation, you know. Why not reschedule for late January? Trying to see everyone in less than two weeks doesn’t really make sense. So pencil in some time to just hang out with the kids watching Christmas movies, sans guilt.


4- Make Christmas less commercial

Stressing out over shopping for presents? Your schedule and your budget will both take a hit. Why not do a gift exchange this year? That way, everyone has just one gift to buy. Another smart idea: look around the house. Things you own but don’t use make great gifts. Loads of laughter guaranteed, and it doesn’t cost a cent. Spread the word to your family and friends.


5- Plan a day (or two) just for you

Make that holiday magic last. Enjoy the first snowfall with the kids – just watch their faces. When everyone’s cheeks are rosy from the cold, go home and make hot chocolate. How about staying in your pyjamas all day and having leftovers for breakfast – why not? Spend the evening on the couch, watching classic Christmas movies. That’s the real magic!


6- Give to the less fortunate

Getting involved in your community at this special time of year makes the holidays even more meaningful. Signing up for the food drive, visiting lonely seniors in a residence, or helping cook lunch for the homeless really puts things into perspective. Do you really need to serve a four-course meal?


For a stress-free holiday season, just think about those special yet simple moments. That’s the real meaning of abundance.


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