Getting through the holidays with your sanity intact doesn’t have to be Mission Impossible. But it will take you being willing to do things a little differently than last year. Isn’t that the definition of insanity anyway — to keep doing the same old thing the same old way and expect a different result?
So if you’d like a different result this year — being calm, cool, and collected on Dec. 25 — here’s some tips and ideas to help you.
1. Let It Ride
Didn’t you ever truly wish that a person would give you exactly the same thing that they gave you the year before? I have. I’m not suggesting the boring Dad-tie routine. But it follows that other people who gush about a gift you’ve given might like a repeat. Don’t think you have to be totally new and creative each year. If you’ve hit on something great, let it ride.
2. Double Up
There are likely people on your list that don’t know each other and that you don’t know that well. Pick one thing that will cover a group of people –service people, hostess gifts, neighbors, teachers, etc. — and purchase several of them. Fancy cooking oils, candles, books, stationary, picture frames, etc. can all be used in a variety of gift giving. You’ll have confidence knowing that you have a gift that works without having to spend hours looking.
3. Pajama Shop
Instead of fighting the crowds and parking hassles, order gifts from catalogs, by telephone, or online and have them sent directly to your recipient. You can either send early and specify that it’s not to be opened until Christmas, or wait until closer to the date for delivery. Most companies even offer gift wrapping if you choose it, and a generous return policy. Shop when it’s completely convenient to you — over your morning coffee, in the bubble-bath, or sitting up at midnight in your PJs. Now that would make anybody a happier, calmer, saner Santa.
4. Keep It Earth Friendly
Don’t we all have enough stuff? Think “consumable” this year, things that will be used up instead of stashed in a closet or end up in the Spring garage sale. Bath and body items are great for many people. Teenagers love event or movie tickets and seniors on a fixed income enjoy the chance to splurge on a massage or a new restaurant. Ask any single working mom if she’d rather have a new sweater or a housecleaning service. Each year we give lots of gift certificates so we find our own holiday fun in buying a special ornament for that person as well.
5. Ditch the big fat obnoxious stuff
With all those gifts coming and going, and as holiday trimmings invade your already crowded space, stress from overcrowding will set in. So before you bring in the tree or start shopping, make a clean sweep through at least the public parts of the house. It’s a good time to be ruthless –if you don’t love it or use it, store it. Don’t panic — you don’t have to give it all away. Just box up it up and shove it into the garage or under the bed. In Jan or Feb, go back through it and maybe you’ll decide to donate because you like the more uncluttered feel of your space.
The bottom line is that holiday stress is often caused by you being your own worst enemy. If you need help, delegate. If you’re a procrastinator, beat it by starting early. Make some room for the holidays in your space, in your schedule, in your heart.
Kathy Gates is a Professional Life Coach in Scottsdale AZ. I help people deal with the stress of every day living in a more organized and efficient manner. Get more information at my website Real Life Coach, http://www.reallifecoach.com/ and sign up for the newsletter.