Shopping, shopping lists, shopping, shopping, food shopping, shopping for gifts, shopping. It all starts the week before Thanksgiving. And while “vacations” – that period of time between Thanksgiving and New Year – are meant to be happy, for many Thanksgiving means the beginning of five weeks of relentless stress. The combination and pressure of giving and receiving, social engagements, decorating, cooking and baking, drinking and eating, filling each free moment with holiday tasks to make many people feel the holiday blues instead of holiday joy.
In fact, a study on the impact of stress holidays by the American Psychological Association found that “people wonder where they will find the time and money to do everything it is.” During these times, many people experience increased stress that can decrease the celebrations and downtime they seek. “
In the brilliant words of Henry David Thoreau, “Simplify, simplify.”
Stop for a moment, forget the business holidays as usual, close your eyes and visualize what your perfect holiday is like. Is it quiet, reflective and intimate with those you love? Is it a great gathering of friends and family? Are you focused on the people in your life? I can not imagine that his perfect image includes the holiday frenzy that we put on through year and year.
Give yourself this gift: Claim “Vacation” and define exactly what that means to you. For me, it is a time to focus on what is important in my life: family, close friends, gratitude, forgiveness and generosity. Over the years I have focused on these priorities and when I feel pressured I wonder, “does this serve my vision of vacations?” This question has transformed my vacation from an exercise in excess to a creation of a season full of wonder.
There are simple and conscientious options to keep in mind when taking your holiday again and designing it to reflect your life.
Consider resizing – Planning an elaborate meal, including all the relatives you have not seen since last year’s vacation, crazy race to buy all the gifts on everyone’s lists, taking out the boxes and boxes of decorations Stored in the basement, holiday invitation you get … does this serve your holiday vision? How does this serve you? Your family? Your close friends? If the answer is “no”, let it go.
Meals – Consider reducing the processed meals that you prepare all on your own for the following reasons:
A) creates stress by forcing you to spend every free minute running and getting ready.
B.) An abundance of food generally creates an abundance of waste.
C.) Most people are not there for the food. They really do not care.
A newly revised holiday meal (and, in fact, all the meetings I get) are community meals. As the host I set the tone, but everyone plays an important role. A community event creates inclusion and connection. What does it look like for you? For me, I ask everyone to bring their favorite dish, or flowers, or wine.
And, this is great, are you ready? Ask for help.
A community meal means that members of the community are involved from the beginning to the end. If in fact you are surrounded by close friends and family, you will have assistance at every step of the way, from assembly to decoration and cleaning. In addition, there is the added bonus of spending a little extra time with those special people. On more than one occasion I have had change-of-relationship conversations during assembly before the rest of the community arrived.