No! vember…

Things are going to get cranked up pretty good for the next month and a half or so. Holidays. Are you one that gets pulled in many directions? Your family, your significant other’s family, friends, work parties and more social engagements than you have in a full year? It’s all coming at you, ready or not. I have seen pictures of people putting up their Christmas trees already. Whack jobs, but whatever floats your boat, I guess.

I don’t have it so bad, I have Thanksgiving, my birthday and a few other important birthdays to celebrate, and Christmas. I don’t have multiple Thanksgivings, or several Christmas get togethers. But some of my friends and family have a very delicate and intricate schedule they have to follow every year. Throw in stuff you have to do for kiddos, and BOOM! Exhaustion and stress everywhere! Why do we do it to ourselves every single year? The amount of complaining about what you have to do does not balance the amount of joy you are supposed to be experiencing, or does it?

Guess what? It is Ok to say “NO” to some of it. Wait, what? Yep, you do not have to stretch your wallet or your sanity to the limits. But… but my mother-in-law on my siblings left side of the family tree of the adopt-a-family round robin white elephant cookie exchange wrapping party…. Huh? What the hell happened there? What happened to family, simple get-togethers and relaxing? Where is the “It’s better to give than receive” mentality? People are about to spend the next 7 weeks trying to out-do each other on baking, buying, wrapping, decking halls and stressing each other out because someone forgot to grab the gluten-free cookies for Karen. Groups of women in matching sweatshirts and elf hats are already descending on the malls and it scares the crap out of me.

Slow down, just a little. For yourself. These holidays roll around every single year. And the stuff gets done. The gifts get where they are supposed to, the cookies get baked and eaten and the cat will climb up the tree and knock stuff down. Why stress about it? What good does it do? One of my favorite holiday prep stories was the year my stepmom, Dar, was baking cookies. She kept burning them, and she was so pissed. She had turned the oven on, not wearing her glasses, and set it to broil instead of bake. I don’t recall how many cookies got wrecked before she realized it, but guess what? Christmas was not ruined. We still laugh about it. Less than perfect outcomes make for better stories.

So as you roll through this holiday period, make sure to take care of you. Say no to unreasonable schedules, requests, and say no to the stress. Do the stuff you enjoy, the rest will work itself out. Make memories, not anxiety. Perfect holidays only exist on TV, and you will have better memories of your family time, not what color wrapping paper you used for presents that match the tree. Laugh and enjoy the people you love, that is the best gift, and they can’t take it back to the store for credit.

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