Well folks, here we are. The holiday season is upon us once again. I feel like I’m someone who pays close attention to the calendar. I use my Google calendar, Outlook calendar, and my desk planner. How can I look at the calendar everyday of my life and still feel completely thrown off my unicorn when Thanksgiving is TOMORROW?
It is overwhelming thinking about the long list of things to do. Somewhere between my full-time job, napping schedule, Netflix bingeing, doodling, and my newfound Dunkin’ Donuts addiction, I have all these holiday season things needing my attention. One day at a time. One thing at a time.
Tips on Preparing for the Holiday Season
(#1) Preparing for the Food
No, I did not say preparing food. Preparing for the food is much different. The average person gains between 7 and 10 pounds during the holiday season. This isn’t something you can just go into without preparation. Competitive eating isn’t a sport to scoff at. Everyone who hasn’t been training for the Thanksgiving feast tomorrow will learn this the hard way. They will be the ones sitting on the couch with their pants unbuttoned and hating themselves. The bad news is you are too late to begin training for tomorrow. The good news is you’ll be able to build up your tolerance by Christmas.
First things first, November 1st is Halloween Candy Day. Go hit the clearance bins and get to work. You should be having at least 5-10 miniature candy bars with every meal. Stock up to get you through to New Year’s.
Next, it’s best to begin viewing November and December as double portion month. Your mouth should move constantly, chewing, and chomping. It won’t be easy, but find that happy place between satisfied and gut rot. You’ll want to do this in the most comfortable pants possible. Jeans get tight quickly. Try sweat pants or yoga pants.
Aside from heavy-duty medications or liquor, there is no way you can prepare for shopping during the holiday season. The holiday season is the season of giving, but in my experiences with holiday shopping, people like to give each other headaches.
I know people who live to shop on Black Friday. I call it a suicide mission. There is no electronic gadget, video game, or toaster oven worth risking my life over. People die on Black Friday. Don’t believe me? Check out this website: Black Friday Death Count
Sure, there are only seven and I’m probably more likely to die of a ruptured stomach from all the mashed potatoes I’m going to fit in there. Still, why risk it? I want to meet my maker peacefully. Not being trampled by all the ten-pounds-heavier shoppers.
The best way to tackle the holiday shopping is start early. As in, January. This would be my perfect world, but I’m a procrastinator and 9 years out of 10, I’m still shopping three days after Christmas. Make a list, set the budget, and get it over. That’s what I recommend.
(#3) Preparing for the Awkward Family Functions & Holiday Events
We’ve all had that awkward moment when you’re mowing down on turkey covered gravy when Aunt Bertha brings up the ex you haven’t been with in two years in front of your current “significant other”. Or, being at a work holiday party and you’re the only one who shows up without a date. Or, showing up in an ugly sweater before ugly sweaters were popular. We’ve all been there, right?
You need a plan. If you think I’m going to create said plan for you, forget it. I’ve eaten double portions for the last 25 days. I’m all about giving during the holiday season, but there’s a limit to what I’m willing to do. If I create your plan for the awkward moments, what is that teaching you? Helplessness. Just go make your list of possible discussion topics to divert the attention away from yourself. And keep your cool. No one likes a holiday hot head.
(#4) De-Grinch Yourself
Are you not feeling festive? Is the holiday season on your last nerve already? The weather is too cold, the snow is here, the snow isn’t here, too much Christmas music, the bell ringers are annoying, etc… etc… etc.
Working in behavioral health I know the holidays are difficult for many people. It’s especially difficult for those who have suffered losses throughout the year. The beauty of the season is the spirit. The magic. If you want to find the magic of Christmas, spend more time with small children this time of year.
All joking aside, you can give so much more than money this time of year. Go be one of those annoying bell ringers. Bake something and deliver it to the shut-ins. (If you need a list of folks who could use a home visit, contact a local church.) There are many opportunities to volunteer and I can’t think of a better way to De-Grinch.
(#5) Practice Self-care
The holidays are overwhelming. Practice good self-care. Shower regularly. Brush your teeth. You know, the basics. It’s important. Take time to yourself if you need to. Recognize when you’re biting someone’s head off for simply asking the obvious, “Would you like an extra shot of espresso today?”
It’s okay to take some time for yourself. Grandma Jean always used to sneak downstairs and have a cigarette. That was her me-time and we all thanked my sister, Shannon, for getting her down there to take her break. Bronchitis is a small sacrifice for holiday sanity.
As a disclaimer, cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health.
There are many alternatives for stress relief. Red wine is good for you, I hear. In moderation, though.