Preparing for the holidays while keeping up with business as usual takes a special talent.
It’s at this time of year that the male of the species can do nothing more than stand back and watch in awe as women execute a holiday season to remember without losing their stride.
But there is a fine line between being “blissfully busy” and “painfully packed.” Typically, I subscribe to the latter. No more. I’m slowing down to savor the season. So, what changed? Well, the answer is three things really.
Learning to say NO.
I’ve always been a bit of a “people pleaser” and found myself doing things I really didn’t want to do – sometimes with people I didn’t want to do it with. Suddenly, I realized it’s much more important to do less and enjoy it more than to try to do it all and miss out on the joy that the activity was supposed to bring.
“No” isn’t all that negative when you think about it.
Learn that enough is enough.
Is it really necessary to put up six Christmas trees and prepare 24 different dishes for the big Christmas dinner?
This year I will pare down to one salad, one green vegetable, one starchy vegetable and the requisite turkey and dressing. If my family expects more they can bring it with them. Everyone knows I don’t “Do Dessert” so my Aunt Emma always provides the goodies.
This is a special time and I was letting silly things get in my way (and stress me out), preventing me from enjoying the meaning of Christmas. I changed the way I looked at the holiday preparations… I made them “want to-do’s” instead of “have to-do’s.”
I hung my greens on the front door, but still haven’t decorated with bows and stuff. It looks fine after dark with all the lights twinkling. Those bows may not ever get made. (Is this me talking? I usually obsess over the simplest little thing.)
Take the easy way out
I’m nothing if not spontaneous. But that has almost caused several nervous break-downs and at least one divorce.. On the spur of the moment I’d invite fourteen people over for gumbo then tear around like a whirling dervish trying to find some shrimp, while my guests were lined up at the back door.
If I do any entertaining this year, it will be for close friends who don’t care that the only thing I collect is dust bunnies that live rent free under the living room sofa.
I also started thinking less about the “stuff” that we could give to family and friends, and focus on giving memories.