It’s beginning to feel a lot like Chaos! Christmas! Oh my, I meant Christmas! How could I mix those two up? Well, it’s very simple actually. We’ve managed to take the birth of Jesus and turn it into the birth of a million traditions jammed packed into one holiday. Which then turned into a yearly economical boost in the market, which then proceeded to turn into complete and utter chaos where adults are the most anxious they’ve been all year. Wow, that escalated quicker than Rudolph prancing off into the woods after drinking rotten eggnog!
As for me, I simply adore Christmas! I feel like running around hugging strangers whenever I hear those cheerful holiday melodies. As a true Floridian, I wait every year to feel that artificial soapy snow fall down onto my cheeks. There’s nothing like bundling up and being fully wrapped in scarfs just to take it all off by 10 am because it’s 80 degrees all of sudden. As a mother I experience a whole other side of Christmas. Baking with my kids, watching all the Christmas classics on TV, and drinking hot cocoa in our pj’s while we stare at our Christmas tree is joyous bliss! It’s a wonderful to have a family of your own to create memories for. There’s something about the season that is different than any other. I feel like my home is the happiness around Christmas time. Everything from the smell of pine cones and cinnamon to the festive light designs warm my heart.
However, not everything is warm and fuzzy. There are certain things that irritate us and make us want to punch a snowman right in the face. In my experience there are 3 major things that cause people headaches around Christmas time. Grab a cozy blanket and cup of Joe and allow me to list a cheat sheet for avoiding major chaos this Christmas.
By October adults are already fixated on what gifts they’re going to purchase and how! Gift giving is done differently in every home, but now most companies incorporate gift exchange at work as well. It is easy to run into a few issues when purchasing gifts. There are always the picky people and then there’s those you don’t know well enough to figure out what they want. Yet for some, that is not actually the issue. Let’s face it, people are broke! Here you are trying to be somewhat of a responsible adult and now you have to stop and buy things for other people when you’ve been putting off getting stuff for yourself! Overspending, wrapping awkward shaped boxes and standing in long lines is not a Christmas tradition you want. What can you do?
- Make a list and check it twice! – Write down all the people that are significant in your life. (family, children, co-workers, teachers, church members & even pets!)
- Price them! – Come up with a budget for each person. Calculate your total & save up!
- Schedule your shopping! – Do not try to do it all in one day. Take your list with you and schedule accordingly. Try to schedule your shopping very early or very late that is the best time to shop without dealing with the crazed holiday shoppers.
- Online! Online! Online! – It could take you less than 5 minutes on your lunch break to finish your holiday shopping! Try to order the majority of your gifts online and be sure to check the estimated delivery date. This is a great alternative when you don’t have time to hit the stores!
Other Tips of My Own:
At Work – Instead of figuring out who to buy presents for at your job without offending anyone else, buy them all something! Bring in donuts for the whole staff or homemade baked goods. You will spend less then $10 and you don’t have to figure out what to get each individual person.
Extended Family – Come to an agreement! Communicate with each other and come up with the gift exchange flow of the year. You can agree to focus on the children only or to do Secret Santa. Both plans are cost effective and make gift buying easier. Another thing you can do is pick one person(s) to focus on. Maybe instead of getting gifts for everyone, everyone can pitch in to get a big gift for a particular member of the family that really deserves something special.
Children – Pick one major gift for each child. Invest in that gift and pick 2-4 items that compliment it. When they open their gift they will have everything to go with it. They will play for hours and it could save you money instead of buying random toys or items.
Significant Others – Everyone loves surprises, but try communicating what you would like. Tell your boyfriend/girlfriend ahead so they don’t wreck their minds trying to figure it out. Save them the headache and be straight forward with them. Spouses, do the same and narrow down the budget for your gifts. A good idea is taking out that amount in cash so there is still some sort of element of surprise. And be nice! If you ask them for “nothing” do not get upset when you get “nothing”.
So much to do and so little comp time! Approaching December with no vacation hours left at work can be pretty upsetting. There is so much to do especially in the last two weeks of December. Christmas parties, plays, brunches, dinners, and even birthdays! For students December just means one thing; final exams. There is hardly any time to enjoy the holidays when you are locked up in your office studying! There are also so many other busy factors. Family comes into town and friends want to meet up. Husband’s want to relax and wives want to go on an cleaning rampage. Roads are filled with people going to places they most likely don’t want to go to. Invites pour in and you find yourself with not enough hours in the day. What can you do?
- More lists! – Use your phone to help you organize. Make a To-Do list for each day. You should also add all events to your calendar immediately.
- First come, First serve! – In most cases family comes first, but during the busiest time of the year you should go with whoever invited you first when it comes to holiday functions. Honor what you originally had planned for your day.This will help you not overwhelm yourself.
- Make time! – Pick a day or two when you have absolutely nothing planned. You may end up doing something awesomely spontaneous or get much needed rest.
- Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy! – Actually do things you will enjoy. If you don’t get everything done make sure to not be so hard on yourself. You don’t want to cramp your schedule. If you are fortunate enough to be with family try to be off your phone! There’s nothing like creating new stories that will be shared for many years to come.
Something I hold very dear is family and the idea of family. To me, family is a sacred bond and a gift from God. It means we are not alone. It is a harsh reality when we first realize that family doesn’t always get along. I recall witnessing childish arguments as a kid and the hurt from seeing people I loved be completely outraged and out of character. Unfortunately, as you get older not only do you witness it, but you experience it as well. Sometimes there are very big things or even minor things that can keep us from seeing family. No ornament-filled Christmas tree or beautifully wrapped present matter if everyone you love isn’t in harmony to enjoy it with one another. What can you do? I believe it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it. With that being said, I have very basic and direct suggestions that I hope you can translate into your lives. I could elaborate more, but I hope you reflect on each one and see what it means to you in your own life.
- Forgive Them.
- Love Them.
- Embrace Them.
- Be The Change!
As far as Christmas goes, I hope you enjoy it. Seek to experience it past all the exterior things. I challenge you to put others first and love those around you. For my friends who don’t necessarily celebrate Christmas, I hope my advice can still apply to you in some form where your day can be a little brighter. My gingerbread cookies are starting to burn! Until next time! Merry Christmas!