Back in my day, the holiday season began in November, after Halloween. Now-a-days things are very different. Target had Christmas stuff out in September. September! Seriously?
3 months is a long time to sustain the energy, enthusiasm, and excitement of the holidays. It’s also a long time to be on the go, like we seem to be with extra parties, get togethers, shopping, and community events.
Since it seems like holiday mania isn’t going away any time soon, here are some tips to maintain your sanity during this ever-expanding time.
Be choosy. This time of year every club, church, organization and business has something special going on. Between hayrides, pumpkin patches, Santa at the mall, you could go crazy trying to do everything. Pick and choose what you’re going to go to. Our family considers a number of things like distance, time, price, who else is going. Check out this post for more detail about how we make our family entertainment decisions.
Have a budget. It’s so easy to overspend at the holidays. Even things that are free aren’t – they’re usually accepting donations or selling something there. Plus, there are hostess gifts for holiday parties and Christmas gifts, charitable donations… It adds up fast. Have a set amount for entertainment, parties, and gifts, and stick to it.
Say no. Can you host the class bake sale? Well, yes, I can, but no, I won’t. Could you just pick up a little something for the teacher (from the class), wrap it so it’s fit for a queen, then track down all the kids and parents to have them sign it? Ummm… no. Do you want to chaperone the field trip to the chocolate and wine factory? Why, yes. Yes, I do. You don’t have to say no to everything!
Take time for yourself. This might just be the introvert in me, but one of my favorite things about the holidays is how much more amazing silence sounds. There is so much hustle and bustle, so many people everywhere, so many things to get done, the peace that comes from a quiet moment to myself is a thing of beauty. Even if you love big crowds and being around lots of people, no one can be “on” all the time. Make time to take care of yourself or you’ll be burnt out by Thanksgiving.
Focus on what’s important. The holidays are about being thankful. Being grateful. Being generous. Spending time with the people who matter most. Regardless of what religion you practice, or whether you practice any at all, something we can all get behind is the spirit of joy, peace, and unity that comes around the holidays. There will always be people who trample others so they can buy a toaster for $2.99. They don’t get it. And they don’t represent the holidays. Keep your attention on those around you, those that make the season worth celebrating.
Do you get wrapped up in the holiday hustle? How do you keep yourself sane during this crazy time? Share in the comments.