Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Is Simply Surviving Christmas Your Goal?

 The Down Side of Christmas Holidays

When my girls were teens, they worked at a movie theater. One year both of them worked on Christmas Day. I remember they were surprised by the number of people, one by one, that came to the movies that day.

Some folks don't "do" Christmas for valid religious reasons. We know that. But there are a lot of people who might like to celebrate on that day but lack funds, housing, family or friends. There are those whose memories of Christmas aren't great. Or maybe they suffer from depression and lack the spirit that is supposed to come with the season.

For those that find it hard to get into the swing of parties or dinners or sleigh rides, taking a low-key approach may help. Perhaps it is the pressure of finding just the right gifts, or worrying about paying for the gifts that causes stress. Maybe it is undercurrents of tension between family members.

Our family has a simplified set up. All the little ones get gifts. They are fresh to the traditions and love every minute of the holiday. The adults -  not so much. If my kids exchange gifts with their spouses - good on them. For me and my hubby, old memories and stresses sneak into the season. It's great when the grandkids are coming or we go there. But for us alone at home, we are content to NOT exchange gifts, to eat an easy, tasty meal and to kick back with a movie and a glass of vino. And we avoid the stores, except for groceries, during November and December. That's it.

We give each other the gift of NOT having to shop or to create a perfect Turkey dinner.

Bottom line:

 Figure out what you can handle and politely say 'no thanks' to the rest. Find ways to keep the gifts joyful, not necessarily expensive. Make them, give gift cards, hand out certificates for babysitting, house cleaning or some other task that will help someone. Try a less stressful new tradition. Frozen pizza might just do the trick for you and yours. Lower expectations do not mean lesser ones. Just different ones.

Here are some links to sites that list ways to take some of the stress out of Christmas.
Health Newsletters
Psychology Today

As you go into the new year, here are some suggestions to live by.

And a very
 to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

4 Christmas Touchstones

 We all have touchstones that summon memories for us. Here are four Christmas ones that touch me instantly.

1) Presents under the Christmas Tree. This goes hand in hand with # 2. I also remember our dog, Nigel,who one year ate a pound of chocolate and another year half a "round" of cheese from the factory.

 2) Little kids

The thrilled response of the very young who love Grandma's homemade mitts. Children are the heart of the family when it comes to this time of year. Their anticipation is electric and their fun contagious.

The Grandparents ( and great grandparents)  This was the last Christmas my Mom and Dad had together. Dad had dementia and memory issues but remembered to stay in his "Santa" role for the whole party. Mom rewarded him with a kiss.

  4) The memories of Christmas past.

 This one is me with my younger brother and our Mom. We got one big gift (mine was the doll and the cradle,) a new pair of pj's and a filled stocking. The stocking had a quarter in the toe, then an apple, an orange, some barley candy on a stick and a book of Lifesavers. 


From other relatives we got socks, mitts and books... the books were the best gifts for me.

What are your Christmas 'touchstones?'