Monday, December 15, 2014

A More Peaceful Holiday

In the busyness of the season, it may be difficult to find the peace mentioned so many times in Christmas carols.

All this extra stress isn't doing anybody any good, is it?

Here are some of the things that make my holiday less frantic and more enjoyable.

I realize it's likely too late to implement any major changes for this year. I decided a year ago on one of these things, and it looks as if that's going to work out.

1. Wear jingle bells. Perhaps I love jingle bells more than the average adult does. I have a pair of homemade jingle bell earrings that I love to wear. They make me happy, and seem to have that effect on others too. Piece of bent wire, jingle bell. Repeat.

2. Choose your music. I listen to public radio, and as a result I don't get sick of Christmas music. Maybe you never get tired of hearing it, but I have in the past because in my opinion it starts too soon. I will likely dig out my CDs in a couple of days.

3. Reduce gift giving. This is not impossible, folks.
This year we've decided to put a dollar amount cap on our family gifts.
Some years, we have done homemade. If you're super crafty, great. If you're not, homemade is still an option. I'm talking outdoor wind chimes made from plumbing pipe, a pretty jar of homemade laundry soap (I received this for my birthday and was tickled!), hot cocoa mix in a jar or mug. Use your imagination. It's the thought that counts, right?
Instead of exchanging stuff, if you're within driving distance, give the gift of time. Meet for lunch or dinner, or see a play, dutch treat.
We don't have to show people we love them by going into debt, buying more than anyone needs or can store--and expecting the same in return.
4. Make your holiday a gift to the community--shop local. I love doing this, and am fortunate to have some unique shops within walking distance. One in particular sells locally made crafts (Yes! Like The Emporium in Midnight in Legend, TN. I am excited.)

5. Support local events. I love our community's annual Madrigal Dinner. This year, sadly, it had to be reduced to a concert without the dinner, but the music was fabulous, and the decor lovely. One positive is that some people attended who might not have gone to a dinner. (Disclaimer: The Progeny sang in it, and the Progenette played the flute. But everybody said the music was fabulous--not just me.)

6. Look on the bright side. See number 5.

7. Simplify food prep. Unless, of course, you love having it complicated--then go for it.

I take the same thing to all of the holiday parties I attend. This makes food shopping super easy, and the thought process doesn't take any time at all. I also take this same thing to the Annual Football Game Food and Television Soiree.
On Christmas Day, I host a luncheon. In past years I've made lasagna, salad, garlic bread. This year I'm just making the lasagna, because all the guests wanted to bring something. I had resisted this, but who am I to refuse this if the guests are happier about it?
I will make the lasagna on Christmas Eve, because there's a Christmas brunch to attend. Last year I didn't have time to get to the brunch because I had not simplified my food prep. (Yep, I planned in December 2013 to tweak this in case I got invited to the brunch again.)
8. Take a look at your expectations for decor. If you love what you're doing, keep it up. If you need to pare down, for goodness sake don't feel guilty about it. It's not supposed to be the season of guilt.

I hope you can glean something that will help make your holiday, this year and/or in the future, more peaceful.