tis the season...for food and fun and family and friends. not that it shouldn't be 'the season' for those things year 'round...but for whatever reason, lots of folks don't do the year 'round thing. no matter. to each his own and all that jazz. i'm not here to tell you about how you "should" do anything. your life. your choices. i AM here, however, to light the lights that may have dimmed (or gone out completely) so that you may have more twinklings in your world. that's my job. it's why i write what i write. and so...
since the holidays are just 'round the corner and i know tons of folks who tend to get all stressed out this time of year, i thought it might be a good time to offer up some little reminders. just so you can enJOY yourself more and maybe even git rid of the stressful part once and for all.
whaddya think? you game?
well then, here are a few things that always keep me in the spirit of the season and really have worked for years. i'll be the first to admit that i truly am a kid at christmas time. and even though i'm not what folks label "christian", i do honor the winter holiday just like other folks do. truth be told, i DO believe in santa claus (oh. i'll bet that's a big surprise.) and i also happen to believe that the winter holidays are a terrific time to honor all things living. just because lots of those living things are having their seasonal nap doesn't mean we can't honor them. they're only sleeping, not dying. so we can celebrate their presence as they sleep. kinda like when new parents look at their sleeping babies after they themselves have not slept in days (or weeks?!). they gaze lovingly at their babes and sigh with deep love for the beauty before them. they can often be heard muttering soft words to those sleeping babies, telling them just how much they are loved. you know what i'm talking about. you've probably either done it or witnessed it yourself, right? okay then. kinda like that..only different.
if you happen to be one of those freaks who actually shops year round, you're not likely to be nearly as stressed as those who don't. (i AM one of those freaks, so by the time Thanksgiving rolls around i usually only have one or two gifts left to find. what can i say? it's a way for me to carry the season all year long. AND it keeps me from having to deal with so many cranky pants when shopping season rolls 'round.) so if you have a ton of stuff to buy and you're thinking how awful the whole task is going to be, take a step back. before you do any of that, take some time with yourself and do the list thing. (why do you think santa checks twice?!). lists are a terrific way to minimize stress and maximize time. let's face it: nobody gets any extra minutes in a day. we ALL have 1440 of them so don't think you're getting cheated. those people who insist on cutting in front of you or dashing around like crazy loons are just being inconsiderate. there are plenty of those kinda folks but we don't have to let them ruin the party. here's how i do it:
first i make a list of all the stuff i might need to buy. gifts, cards, food, drink, paper, trinkets, decorations, etc. next i prioritize. what do i need first? what can wait? how much of what i need can i buy online? who am i inviting to the party? how soon do i need to get those invites out? i sit with my holiday music playing and a glass of wine by my side and put on my reindeer antlers (they even light up! so fun!!!) and get all my stuff in order.
next i tackle the cleaning part. now, being as how i'm a neat freak anyway, there's usually not much to do in that arena. it normally only takes me a couple of hours at most. once finished, i'm ready to roll. i'm a big fan of lights and decorations, so i make that task #2. but it's not a "task" at all. it's just fun to do. music playing and boxes spread out all over the place, i carefully choose what's going where and let the fun begin. gotta have my decor right before it really feels like the season. that's just me. i keep this really beautiful tree in my living room all year long. it's one of those that looks like a tree from Yosemite. it's got three separate trunks, with each tree a different height. they're all mounted on a round steel plate and the tallest tree reaches about 8 feet. it's the COOLEST tree ever. i change the ornaments with each season. so it's not really a "christmas tree". it's an "all the year long" tree. saves me from having to mess with the whole finding a tree thing and then the lights and all the rest. all i have to do is change the ornaments and i'm done. very cool indeed.
okay. so now the house is clean and the decorating is done and next comes the shopping for whatever gifts i haven't yet found. before i go out into the scary retail world, i ALWAYS have a glass of wine first (geez. i'm sounding like a little wino here, huh?) but really...a little sip or two isn't going to have me driving drunk and it IS going to calm my nerves enough to brave the crabby shoppers i may encounter. bless their pea-pickin' hearts. i always wear festive clothing and either my santa hat OR my antlers (i really do this. NOT kidding. makes me giggle from the moment i put them on all the way til i get back home. it's a HOOT.) once i'm all dressed and ready to roll, i pop in some festive music and toodle my way to whatever retailers i'm going to shop. i take my time. i sing. i smile a lot. (especially at the cranky pants. they need it the most!) i let people get in front of me in line. i let people move into my lane if they're needing to get over. i say 'happy holidays' to anyone who meets my eye. in short, i make it a big ol' party. and yes. it works. even those cranky pants can't help but smile back (sometimes it looks painful for them, but at least they're tryin', ya know?)
once i've got all my gifts purchased (no matter when I bought them), i have myself another party. i set a night aside just to wrap the gifts. i LOVE wrapping gifts. i get all into the whole creative thing and make a huge mess with papers and ribbons and glue guns and such and just have a blast making all those gifts look delicious. yep. fun stuff (for me, anyway). then they all go under the tree and i'm DONE.
so what's left? cards to mail out...that's pretty easy and doesn't really take all that long to do. i try to get them out right after Thanksgiving, but sometimes that doesn't happen. i've been known (in years past) to send them AFTER christmas. so what? when i was growing up, my mom said the holiday wasn't really over until after January 6th; that's what they called "little christmas" in my family. had something to do with some Italian tradition. let's skip that for now. it's not really relevant. the point is, it doesn't even matter if you don't send ANY cards. it's not about cards or gifts. it's about spending time with those you love. not everyone has the means to buy gifts or cards. and trust me when i say, i've been there too. it wasn't fun (for me) but it sure did teach me a lesson. being with those people i love most in the world is more important than anything else. this is even more acutely felt if you've lost a loved one. it's taken me almost 25 years to get over the fact that my parents won't be joining us. it still sucks. BUT it also makes me more appreciative of those who ARE still here. 'nuff said.
for all the rambling here, the point i've been attempting to impress is this:
IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!
all of Life is supposed to be fun, but for some reason we get all "adult" about stuff and it takes all the fun away. STOP DOING THAT! if you happen to be one of those who was blessed with many wonderful childhood memories, then call that stuff back up and live it again. if you were not, then MAKE YOUR OWN. you can do it. i promise it's not all that hard. AND if you get stuck, there are tons of movies that can help you get the feeling. besides the classics like "It's a Wonderful Life" or "White Christmas", there's one that really knocks my socks off. "The Santa Claus" with Tim Allen. just LOVE that movie. it always makes me grin like a cheshire and the feeling stays with me for a long time. anyway...
i'm sending you tons of cheer and arms-around-ya love. i'm hoping you will make your holiday season as fun and memorable as you've always wanted. and i hope santa is good to you.
p.s. don't forget the milk and cookies.
p.s.s. while i don't normally "plug" my own stuff, this is one exception. my book "Whispers~The Often Subtle Sometimes Rowdy Voice of Truth" is available at Amazon.com. It's only $11.95 and makes a great stocking stuffer. AND it's a really terrific little book! really!