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  • Writer's pictureChristina Francine

How to Survive the Holidays

1. Cut Down on The Hassle

2. Ways to Save Money

3. Guilt Free Celebrating with Family

4. Building Memories

5. Bring Back A Bit of Magic

6. Spreading the Joy

The holidays are coming. Quick! Hide! Soon the merciless, “I wants,” will begin, followed by cookie requests for six dozen or more – all beautifully hand decorated of course. Then, your mother will phone, “Will your father and I see you on Christmas this year, or are you busy?” Meanwhile your checkbook starts wriggling from being depleted down to a single digit. Why? Because you need to show everyone how much they’re worth, don’t you?

If your reaction upon flipping your calendar to December is one of panic and despair, then you may need a new protocol. Slow down. Plan ahead.

Remember that you don’t have to be perfect in order for your holidays to be.

As Winston Churchill said, “When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.”

1. Cut Down on the Hassle.

· Not only bake then freeze your cookies three to four weeks ahead of time, but borrow a friend’s cookie sheets. This will speed up your time considerably.

· Start shopping early. Not November, that’s not early enough. How about in May, June or July?

Imagine having time to pick out that perfect gift without the pressure, crowds, or strain on your wallet.

· Wrap gifts soon after you buy them. This way you don’t have to stay up till 2:30 A.M. before Christmas.

· Give each child a box of their own or a laundry basket to put their gifts in. Everything is kept track of and there are fewer squabbles.

· Take turns opening gifts. This makes gift giving and opening last longer and it brings the focus back to the actual act of giving.

· How about asking your children and husband for help? They could wrap gifts, lick envelopes and do much of the decorating around the house.

· Remember to pop your popcorn two days before stringing, otherwise it will crumble.

2. Ways to Save Money.

· It’s not how much you spend that says you love someone. It’s how much you can afford. Fit your list.

· Give the gift of favor. Maybe watching your sister’s children for a few days or cooking a meal or two for a bachelor brother.

· Is there anyone on your holiday card list that is an extra? Send ten less cards and save $.

· Draw names so that there are less gifts to buy and everyone still receives something.

· Decide with certain family and friends to share good cheer instead. Play board games, sing songs and catch up on what is happening in your lives.

If you each have children, agree to buy small gifts for them only. Have the children draw names.

· Don’t go into debt. A plain cloth rag doll will be just as much of a hit to a small child as one that walks, talks or lights up. Young children actually prefer them to coddle and lay with.

3. Guilt Free Celebrating With Family.

· Consider inviting one group of family members for brunch and the other for dinner.

· Ride around to your children’s homes this year.

· Everyone be in charge of a portion of the meal and bring it hot and ready to eat. This doesn’t leave one person with all the preparation and cost.

· Full refrigerator? If the temperature outside is lower than 40 degrees and higher than 35 degrees, put beer, soda and other large items on the porch.

· Have an after-dinner party. Everyone bring a plate of goodies and a beverage.

· Buy a few extra small gifts, candy, coloring books, potpourri. What if you forget someone or an unexpected child or adult comes?

4. Building Memories.

· Make an ornament to give either as a gift or for your own family tree.

· Plan a cookie baking party. Each person make a different cookie, then when

your finished, you each go home with a wide variety of cookies. Some people come to the party with dough already made; this leaves more time for sharing and decorating.

· Some families make a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve, and at the Christmas meal they sing, “Happy Birthday.”

· Give newly-weds Christmas decorations.

· Give a theme gift – something to match your mother-in-law’s kitchen, a basket filled with specialty coffees and a picture or calendar for your sister who loves horses.

· If a family member can’t be there for the festivities, video-tape highlights of the day and do one for yourself. This creates invaluable memories.

5. Bring Back a Bit of Magic.

· Try to stop worrying especially with things such as; weight, your job, bills, family squabbles, or holiday stress such as; what are you going to buy your brother-in-law.

Don’t dwell on if you’ll have enough shopping time, finding that ‘perfect gift – if you can figure that out. Stop asking yourself why

Christmas has become more like a chore. Calm down. The pressure only makes it worse.

· Enjoy the decorations in the stores, on the streets, at your neighbor’s house.

Listen to holiday music on your car stereo, at the department store, at the office, while cooking supper. Since you’ve already a start on your gift buying (remember, start in May, June or July) you’re not preoccupied and frazzled on what to get and when.

· Spend an evening decorating the tree with someone special. This could be a husband, your child, your brother’s child, a friend, a person who would

Otherwise be alone. Put on holiday music. Have a cup of hot chocolate and savor the task of each carefully placed light, ornament and bit of tinsel.

Some families have made a tradition of who puts on what; Dad the lights, Mom the garland, children the ornaments and everyone the tinsel. Take pictures. After a few years, you’ll have quite a display.

· Many people try to recreate their childhood Christmas’ by playing super-women. Allow your holiday to be what you want. If your stressed, chances are your children will feel the effects.

· Give home-made gifts or something personal – a picture frame you made your-self with a picture you took or painted, a basket you’ve filled with theme items, a tree skirt.

· Read a Christmas story to children, then ask them to tell you a Christmas story.

6. Spreading the Joy.

· Some schools have a giving tree in their main hall. Four weeks before vacation arrives, children bring in canned goods, mittens and un-opened gifts to be given to selected needy children in the area.

· The teenagers in one church group offer free baby-sitting services one afternoon for mothers needing a chance to shop.

· Slip a gift certificate anonymously to a family who may not have a lot. It could be for groceries or toys. Sign it from “Santa.”

· Make a list of extra chores for your children. This will give them money to buy gifts. They learn about the spirit of giving.


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