I have already visited a few Christmas markets and festivals. Thanks to Black Friday sales, I have already put a dent in the gifts I need to buy. And, I have even watched a couple of Christmas movies. I love the holidays but admittedly I also find it somewhat stressful and I know I am not alone. It’s this duality of love and strain that made me consider how I could set myself up for success as I head into the days and weeks and ahead and optimize all the season has to offer.
1. Set Realistic Expectations
The portrayal of holidays in media and culture often sets an unrealistic standard of perfection. This can lead to disappointment when our own experiences don’t match these idealized visions. And, I am the consummate rose coloured glasses, glass half full, hopeless romantic!!! It’s important to set realistic expectations for the holidays. I remind myself continuously that not everything will go as planned, and that the key is time we all get to spend together.
2. Create a Budget and Stick to it
Financial stress is one of the major challenges of the holiday season. The pressure to buy gifts, prepare lavish meals, and decorate can strain any budget. I don’t know about you but I consistently blow it! Every year we try to align on limits and I get lost in my own expectations of being a mom and I overdo it. My kids will tell you this. For the first time, I am actually sticking to the plan we have all co-created. We all have some goals for 2024 and to make those happen we need to be prudent over the holiday season. Believe it or now, I actually created a budget and I would invite you to do the same.
3. Take Time for Self-Care
Amidst the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations, it’s easy to neglect personal well-being. Last year my daughter and I started what we hope will become a new tradition. On the 23rd we book a mani, pedi and if possible a massage or reiki session. By this point our expectation is that our gifts are purchased. The wrapping and preparations are as complete as possible. We take a pause so that we head into the festivities “present’. As I said, this is a new tradition for us and I am sharing to make the point that before you get caught up in the whirlwind, schedule time to pause so that you can enjoy all the moments along the way.
As we all know, the essence of the holiday season lies in connections with family and friends. Enjoy these precious moments. I can’t type this part without my eyes filling up. Time with loved ones for me as the best part of the holidays and as my children will tell you, I never get enough time with them!! So, I cherish every moment. Time truly is the very best gift.
5. Be Flexible and Adapt
I think this is my mantra for the holidays. Our lives and those of our loved ones are constantly changing. Therefore, the only way to manage is to be flexible and adapt. I wish the patience to do this for all of us.
The holiday season is a complex mix of emotions and experiences. Take the time now before all the festivities are upon to think about what you need to set yourself up for a loving, peaceful and fulfilling holiday.