Friday, November 26, 2010

The Holiday Blues & What You Can Do

Bah, Humbug!Image by PrincessFroglips via Flickr
This time of year can make you want to hide in bed under the covers. For many of us, thoughts of canceling the holidays and dropping out of sight might seem like a really good idea. But take heart! I want to share with you some strategies that I have tried over the past six years for making the holidays enjoyable again.

Instead of dreading this time of year, let's see if we can put some of the joy and wonder back into the season. Here are my suggestions to bring a little more happy to your holidays:


  • Think simple: fewer people, less cooking, quick set-up, easy cleanup
  • Pare down giving: one present per family member or one gift for the entire family, draw names for a gift exchange with extended family
  • Easy decorating: just one room or trim the tree and skip decking the halls, pass on decor that requires a ladder or reaching overhead


  • Do, don't buy: watch a tree lighting ceremony, see a community theater or church holiday show, drive or walk around the neighborhood to view the holiday lights
  • What matters most: pick people over things, create experiences over checking off a To Do list
  • Tap into the spirit of the season: share your time, talents and unwanted items, volunteer with your church or local non-profit, share smile and a kind word with a stranger


  • Make a deal: if the holiday meal has to be at your house, make it a potluck so you don't spend the whole day in the kitchen
  • Shop smarter: substitute online shopping for trips to the mall or grocery store
  • Go digital: send e-cards instead of holiday cards
  • Take advantage of free services: for example, use online postage and have the mail carrier pick up your outgoing packages at your home
  • Address expectations: talk to your family about your limited physical energy and/or budget and what is possible and what is not


  • Rediscover Christmas past: consider adding back traditions you used to love, like going to Christmas services or making your Grandma's fruitcake
  • Stick with what works: keep to your usual routine as much as possible to avoid flare-ups

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Anonymous said...

So true! So many people stress about money over the holidays... but so is EVERYONE ELSE! I hate when I cannot afford to spoil my loved ones, bc I love giving! But sometimes... most times, it just isn't plausible. And I'm honest with them about it, and nine times out of ten, they are in the same situation, and it takes the stress off!

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great way to "spend" on the holidays! Time "well-spent" on friends and family can be more rewarding that "money-spent!"

Anonymous said...

PS: I just realized that I can download a PDF of your blog! That is so cool!

Anonymous said...

PSS: Forgot to mention that we are doing "donation" gifting this year. We'll try and match the folks to the organization that best suits them (allows for a small donation, acknowledges the gift, and provides some information/keepsake.
So, my e-shopping sites will all end in .org this year! lol

Judith Westerfile said...

Your "Pick People over Things" should be all of our priorities the entire year not just at the holidays.
You are RIGHT ON!