“There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There'll be scary ghost stories…”
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.
A song that was written for and made famous by the Andy Williams’ Christmas Album, it adorns Christmas cards and is heard in stores everywhere. It even encourages us to exchange cheery greetings to strangers. But how can we truly make this holiday season the most wonderful time?
We’ve compiled our favorite holiday tips and ways to get the most from this treasured (but often overwhelming) time of year.
Set Reasonable Aspirations
How we anticipate an event, like the holidays, can grow in our minds so much that when it finally arrives, we feel let down or disappointed. Or we may expect perfection when perfection is simply unattainable. If this tends to be you, relax. Keep expectations real and try not to strive for the impossible. It feels good to let go, is better for your health and can positively impact those around you.
Determine a Spending Budget
There’s nothing more unsettling than spending more than you should. First, it’s perfectly okay – prudent in fact – not to overspend! It makes good sense to stay within your means when shopping, entertaining or even preparing Christmas dinner.
Start with a budget early, preferably before the season is in full swing. Map out what you can spend. Then make a list. If the list exceeds your budget, revise until you’re comfortable with the plan. You’ll feel good being prepared and satisfied when you stay on track.
Focus on Friends or Family
Those who are closest to us can share the brunt of our mood swings or frustration. Why not let this time of year be a way to remind those you love how much you care? Try mailing a hand-written letter or calling someone you’ve not seen recently.
Make Time for Traditions
This can be one of the most rewarding aspects of bringing loved ones together – sharing and passing on the traditions of those who came before us. But it’s also a time to start new traditions – to welcome fresh ideas from others, enjoy something new or to be flexible if the times are changing.
Reflect On Memories
While the holidays can be delightful, for many, they can produce feelings of ambivalence, grief or loneliness. It’s okay to express these feelings either with a loved one or a professional, and it can be extremely beneficial to talk through painful memories. Fend off loneliness by spending time with family and friends and taking care of yourself. And always seek help if you start to feel overwhelmed by your emotions.
Everywhere you look there may be goodies, treats and a hundred different ways to cheat on your diet or exercise routine. Here, the adage to enjoy things in moderation prevails. When you stick to your routine, both in diet and exercise, you’ll not have to face the fallout from holiday weight gain. If your schedule ramps up this time of year, focus on getting a full night’s rest and remember to eat your fruits and veggies. These all help keep your stamina strong and illness at bay!
Think Of Yourself
Many of us spend time worrying about or caring for others, which is honorable in a way and can be a good thing. But always putting others first, combined with the demands of the holidays, can be a backbreaker. Remember, it’s okay to say no to invitations or requests for help. And don’t feel guilty about taking a few shortcuts here and there. Maybe it’s having dinner delivered rather than cooking from scratch or having Shipt or TaskRabbit do the shopping.
Give To Others
It is indeed better to give than to receive and not necessarily something of monetary value. Maybe it’s offering your time, helping a neighbor or sharing a smile. Giving can boost your mood, help fight loneliness, strengthen social bonds and provide additional health benefits.