'Tis the holiday season for craziness -- the hustling and bustling of people in shops, driving, crazy scheduling, family gatherings, cooking, baking, and finding the perfect gift to express your love to each and everyone on your Christmas list -- oh the madness!
Here's what I am not going to do this month.
Stress out over trivial things.
- Seriously, who cares if our home is not decorated to look like something from Southern Living magazine? We may have a little dust and the underlying fragrance of dog, coexisting with the apple cinnamon and balsam fir scents. We live here - it happens! If the baked/cooked holiday dishes do not look pretty -- it's okay. If traffic is backed up at the local shopping center, we will not get agitated, but will work on building our patience level and good will to our fellowman/woman. We will smile to one another. We will be kind to one another - you never know what people are going through. Let someone ahead of you in line at the cashier -- particularly, if they have less items than you! Wish everyone a Merry Christmas or good holiday cheer! Spread random acts of kindness, listen to your favorite holiday music, take a walk outside, go take a drive and look at the lights. And for goodness sake, if you are intoxicated, stay off the roadways -- get a driver, call a taxi/Uber, or just stay put.
Be overwhelmed by the extra expenses.
- Having family come in and want to share time with you is truly a privilege. Have a budget and plan for the additional cost to your household. You know the holiday season comes once a year -- so let's not act surprised and shocked when it comes around!
Feel obligated to send out more Christmas cards.
- Have a budget and a plan of how many Christmas cards you plan on sending out. Remember you do not have to purchase new cards, but can reuse your cards from a previous year -- just cut off the picture side --and you now have a postcard! First class stamps are costly, but again - PLAN! If you decide to go the route of postcards, the stamps are about $0.20 less expensive. Who do you send Christmas cards to? Consider your immediate family and then expand to those friends/family who are not able to travel this year, or even those persons in nursing homes or are shut-ins. Some elders may not have family close by and to receive a visit or a Christmas card, may encourage them. Sounds simple, but send out Christmas cards...it's more than just a piece of paper...it's a reminder that we are remembered and loved. Oh, but keep in mind, once your budget and/or number of cards is sent out -- and you receive a card from someone you didn't send a card to, do not feel obligated to send them one back.
Try to out-gift my friends and family.
- Have you ever been to those family or office gatherings, where there is one person who tries to buy more expensive gifts? There may have been a budget set for the Christmas gifts, and then someone spends considerably more than the set limit. A gift should be purchased with the intent of remembering. A gift can even be homemade, a visit, a hug. Just because you may not receive a gift doesn't mean that you are not appreciated or loved. And the out-gifting in quantity and/or quality is not necessary. If there is a budget set -- play along. Follow the rules of the game.
Travel great distances.
- Fortunately, there will not be great traveling for us this holiday season. Most family functions will be within a 50 mile radius. For those who have to travel, remember to keep your head in crazy traffic, practice patience, and above all else, arrive alive.
December is definitely one of the most anticipated and busiest months of the entire year. It brings peace -- and it brings chaos. How you enter into the season of love is up to you.
Let's end the year on a positive note -- we are not going to embrace the chaos. We are not going to be lured into overspending. We are going to embrace our family and enjoy the many different characters that make our family special. We are going to gather, eat, and enjoy fellowship. We will be merry and kind.
For in just 11 months from now, we will be facing another crazy holiday season, and we will be making the same conscious decision to not get caught up in the craziness!