It often seems that chaos and the holiday season go hand in hand. Here are some tools for making your holidays less stressful and yourself and your loved ones more comfortable.
1. Expect a little chaos. There will be minor inconveniences, like crowded stores, difficulty parking and long checkout lines, and more chaos at home if you have kids out of school. Make up your mind to not sweat the small stuff.
2. Enjoy the holiday cheer. The holidays bring a lot of positive energy. It’s part of why we love this time of year. Feeling it, even just a little, makes it easier to deal with any Scrooges you encounter.
3. Watch what you spend. If you’re not paying attention to your spending, you may not feel the pinch until after the holidays. Create a budget and stick to it. If it’s hard to keep track of your spending when using a credit card, pay with cash.
4. Enjoy the music. Holiday music can be uplifting, and it’s pretty much everywhere during the season. It also comes in every musical style, from classical to rap, so it’s easy to find something that caters to your tastes.
5. Feel the warmth. This is a good time to get together with family and friends, have a little holiday cheer and allow yourself the luxury of letting the love wash over you. It’s a great feeling.
6. Don’t be the Grinch. Almost every family or office has one, the person who hates the holidays. Unfortunately, that displeasure can get projected anywhere the Grinch goes. You don’t want to be that person. Even if you’re not feeling all that excited about the holidays, buck up, and enjoy the party. It’s going to happen anyway, so you might as well get some pleasure out of it.
7. Make it about the kids, but don’t forget each other. Some couples are all about doing the holidays for their children, and they forget to give each other the same kind of attention. We all want and need love and attention, so share yours freely.
8. Try not to overindulge. Food, alcohol and candy are plentiful at holiday time, so it’s wise to remember that eventually your body is going to make you pay for that extra piece of pie or that third serving of turkey.
9. Be careful out there. Traffic and distracted holiday shoppers do not mix well. Take your time, be gracious and plan to park at the back of the lot. The extra exercise won’t hurt. It’s easy to get frustrated while driving, so stay cool.
10. Be OK with not getting everything you wanted. The holidays are not about presents; they are about presence. Being with those who care for you — or finding people who need your care — is what this season is all about.