Of all the months, December is the least likely for us to relax. There are a hundred things to buy, make, bake, send, or attend but remember, we don’t have to make room for everything.
Instead, make enough space for yourself, your loved ones, and those who could use a little lift.
There are 24 days ahead of us until Christmas–time enough to set a few priorities and boundaries, so we’re not cranky or stressed out.
Pay attention to your body. If you’re too tired, too anxious, too hungry, take care of yourself before you do anything else.
This year I’ve chosen to focus on six areas:
Decorating the house and tree are NOT my forté. I’ll carry the boxes, put together the tree, and help unpack the items, but the interior design award in our house belongs to my daughter. And I don’t feel guilty.
We have fun reminiscing about the ornaments (Baby’s 1st Christmas ’89), the ones from our travels, the homemade ones, and the decorations that need to retire. Our cat, Heidi, is always in the mix, chasing glitter boxes or sneaking under the tree.
Cedar balsam, cinnamon apple, and cranberry candles are my favorite scents to have around the house. Live decor like Trader Joe’s pine wreaths and Poinsettias bring a little bit of nature into the home.
2. Create a relaxing music playlist or watch a couple of classic holiday movies:
We listen to the oldie Christmas songs: Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and Judy Garland when we’re home. Make yourself a list of whatever mellows you out or watch a movie that makes you laugh. My favorite: A Christmas Story (I never tire of Ralphie).
3. Give Christmas to someone else. Participate in a service project in your community or church:
Our church organizes a toy/clothing drive for infants to 16 yrs. old. The Fire Department has the Spark Of Love drive, the Marines Toys for Tots, and many places have the Angel Tree which gives gifts to kids through Prison Ministry. Here’s a list of a few more charities.
A service project doesn’t have to cost money, but time. Volunteer a couple of hours at a hospital, rescue mission, convalescent home, or homeless shelter.
4. Find joy in a peaceful morning at least once per workweek. Okay, you might need to wake up ten minutes earlier, but it’ll be worth it. Make a cup of coffee or tea, sit in your favorite place, warm your hands, and enjoy your drink in quiet solitude (no social media). A ten-minute break can occur at lunchtime or in the evening.
5. Mail a real Christmas card, or two, to an old friend, your parent(s), or someone special. Write a greeting and send the card off before Christmas Eve.
6. Keep a tradition or make a new memory.
For our family, Christmas wouldn’t be merry without making tamales. I’ve written a few posts about making tamales of meat, sweet ones, and vegan ones. This is a group effort and gives us time together. You could do the same by baking cookies or buying refrigerated sugar cookies and decorating them with sprinkles.
These are a few tips that I hope will give you something to think about. Put your focus where you want to and start off the month in stride. Only do what you can reasonably do, and don’t guilt yourself or should all over yourself.
Take good care of yourself this month and remember to breathe.