by Kim Tilley
The holidays can be a really stressful time for everyone. As kids, who knew how much work actually went into making those Christmases so perfect?
Did we have any clue how hard our parents worked or how worried they were about paying the bills and all of the other hustle and bustle that goes with the holiday? Ah, to be young again! I have had my share of stressful holidays, a few that had me so worn out that I was ill for weeks. This year, I do not want to be a victim of holiday stress! I hope you don't either!
I think women especially are incredibly stressed out during the holidays because we do so much of the "traditional" stuff that is associated with the holidays- the big meals, the gift lists, the decorating, etc. Not to leave you guys out, you do a lot too! I put together this list of "reminders" for men and women because we all need to remember that this is our holiday to enjoy too! So many years I have just worked my rear off, wishing we could get the whole thing "over with" and this year I refuse to be so "Scrooge-y". I hope these pointers help you, and let me know if you have any other suggestions that I might add to this list.
1. A good attitude- is always at the top of my list! One of my favorite frugal decorators, Christopher Lowell (from Interior Motives), says- "Where there is fear, there is no creativity!" So true! I have been downright paralyzed with fear in the past as I contemplated all that was ahead of me. This is not a productive attitude and is self-sabotaging. So put on a smile and resolve to have a Happy Christmas this year as a gift to yourself!
2. Get your sleep-you'll be less cranky and better able to make decisions, not to mention actually remember things!
3. Establish a "Martha free" zone- yes, Martha has great ideas, but no one is that perfect with out a ton of help! Remember that the tv shows, magazines, and commercials you see take an army of people and a ton of money to produce. Yes, we might be able to have Martha Stewart perfection if we had an entire staff of hired help and a few million dollars, but most of us don't. So don't get obsessed and torture yourself with overly expensive, complicated or time consuming projects. If you can't resist the holiday masochism, at least limit yourself to one of two projects that require a lot of time and/or money.
4. Have a sounding board- someone you can bounce ideas off of and be a voice of reason when you overextend yourself. This could be your spouse, relative, best friend, neighbor, etc. Having someone to talk to relieves stress and helps you be more creative. Besides, sharing is more fun!
5. Know when to say when- If something isn't working out, change it or drop it from your plans if you can, or get help. Don't beat a dead horse!
6. Focus on your strengths and use them- this is not the time of year to learn underwater basket weaving or heirloom sewing. If you want to learn new skills, make a New Year's resolution and do it after the holidays. During the busy holiday season, focus on what you do well- whether that is sewing, painting, woodworking, using a computer (yes, you can apply computers to Christmas!),etc. Use your talents and compensate for the things you can't do. Perhaps you can make extra of what you are doing and trade with an equally talented friend who is good at something else.
7. Lower your expectations if you have to- Christmas is not a race to see who gets the most presents, or who gives the most extravagant ones, or who has the best decorated house. Do the best you can and then relax and have a good time, it is the best Christmas gift you can give yourself!
© Copyright 1999, Kim Tilley
About the Author
Kim Tilley is the mother of three boys, ages 9,6 and 2. She is the online editor for a local tv station and the editor of Frugal Moms. She is also a tightwad at heart. Her interests include cooking, crafts, gardening, computers, and saving money! When not typing away at the computer, she entertains herself by chasing kids and finding ways to create something out of nothing! Visit Kim's website at http://frugal-moms.com
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