Age has taught me a lot, and the knowledge I have gained helps me cope with stress. I am more accepting of other people’s shortcomings, and perhaps I am even more tolerant of my own self (and believe me, I have). I am also better at seeing what really matters.
When I was younger, I let the holidays stress me out. One year, I wrote this poem when my teenage sons and husband got a little help as I tried to pull together the perfect Christmas for them:
Swap for ease
Those last two verses are too big for me “Aha!” Were. He reminded me to keep in mind the real reasons for celebrating.
I start with the approach I’m decorating and baking because I enjoy doing these things, not because other people need them. This attitude turns it from work into sweet bliss.
As I bake and decorate, I play my favorite Christmas tunes: Barbara Streisand, Mario Lanza, and Mannheim Steamer.
Now the difference is that instead of spending time through stacks of albums, then cassette tapes, and finally CDs, I tell Alexa what I want to hear. Times have definitely changed, won’t they?
Pull it out
Since I am retired, I can increase my baking tasks, one item a day, and only deal with my favorites. I have friends who enjoy getting along with others for cookie bake-a-thon, which is a fun way to have a baking holiday.
Ask for help
I have also learned to ask for help. My husband, Jerry, has some Christmas specialties, and he enjoys picking, cutting and decorating trees with me. As the Christmas tune fills the house, it is a very precious time.
Replace gifts with donations
Another stress-reducer I discovered is reducing the worry of choosing the right gift for everyone on my list. The adults in my family have agreed to donate to our favorite charity instead of exchanging gifts.
Thousands of people who spent now have gift certificates to Kiva for an online micro-loan charity that lends to people in developing countries. Those women and men need support where we need more loot and slippers.
I still choose small items for the family – stocking-goods to brighten the day. Of course, the grandchildren receive genuine gifts. They are not quite ready to offer the pleasure of opening another package or three.
Light on cards
I’m embarrassed to say that I’m back on Christmas cards, only sending them to my old relatives who don’t have email.
I either send an email message or wait for Valentin to be sent out at a quiet time of the year when I have the leisure to write longer messages. Of course, if you enjoy sending Christmas cards, keep it up. Make a holiday about what makes you happy.
Remember what this is all about
The thing that helps me the most during the holidays is to remember that it is a season of love. Love for yourself, love for your family and love for your friends. This message was brought to us from Bethlehem, wasn’t it?
So – let that tension go. Relax and enjoy the holidays. can you do this?
What’s on your holiday list? Can you lighten the load somehow? Will it help you manage stress better? In what ways can you relax amidst all the Christmas activities? Please share your thoughts with our community!