What NOT To Stress Out About…

I came across a great article listing off ingredients for holiday stress. I picked out my three favorites and put a more personal spin on them.


  1. Take every comment personally, or be easily offended. Chances are, you’re going to end up spending time around certain relatives with whom you don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with. Considering that you probably won’t see them again until the same time next year (if even that), any off-color remarks or digs about politics and other social issues may seem maddening at the moment. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s probably not going to dampen your holiday spirit…and it shouldn’t. Staying positive and letting comments in one ear and out the other has certainly helped me.
  2. Using “plastic money” to spend more than what we have. It’s terribly easy to whip out the debit card or credit card and rack up the charges in the name of generosity. But how much is too much? Here’s what I do: Around the beginning of August or September. I start setting aside a little bit of cash every week, so that when the time comes for gift shopping, I’m able to pay for most items with that cash. I also set a spending limit for each person I’m shopping for. I love my family and friends; I just don’t see the point of going into debt to show that love.
  3. Demonstrate a rigid “We’ve never done it that way before!” attitude. I am as traditional and nostalgic at Christmastime as the next person, but there needs to be room for flexibility. For example: on my dad’s side of the family, the tradition was always “all together, on Christmas Day, 12 noon.” Turkey, ham, all the usual side dishes, pie and cut-out cookies for dessert. We did it that way for YEARS. A while back, my mom and one of my aunts had the great idea of trying something different — instead of my grandparents having to worry about the expense of buying and prepping/cooking a turkey and ham, my mom and aunt thought it would be cool to do a potluck and have people bring casseroles. And in addition to having us kids open our presents, why not play a little game involving white-elephant gifts that everybody had brought? Yeeeah, that went over like a lead balloon. At the time, my relatives tolerated the change. But my grandmother did NOT like what we had decided to do. Since then, there has been more flexibility regarding when we celebrate Christmas together, but everything else about our gathering has remained the same. My grandmother couldn’t see beyond what we had always done – in her mind, why mess with what works? But when your family grows and expands, there comes a point when you need to accommodate people’s different schedules. And that might involve changing things up a bit.

I hope you all have a wonderful, relatively stress-free holiday season!



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