How to survive the holidays
Wondering how to survive the holidays? You’re not alone. And no, that doesn’t make you a Scrooge. Instead, it just means you’ve got a lot to consider — and probably a lot to stress about.
From entertaining difficult relatives to cooking oversized meals to buying gifts for every last person on Santa’s “nice” list, the amount of boxes that need checking during this special time of year can feel more than a little overwhelming.
Here’s 5 quick ways you can avoid the seasonal pain and learn how to survive the holidays this season.
1. Don’t get in the ring with relatives
The first tip on our “how to survive the holidays to-do list” involves making peace with your especially ornery relatives. Most of us have a few extended (or immediate) family members we don’t see eye to eye with. In the past, you might’ve gotten into arguments with them around this time of year.
This time around, try not getting in the ring. Sure, your relatives might try and bait you with their backwards political rants or insensitive comments, but that doesn’t mean you have to participate in the fight. Instead, focus your attention and energy elsewhere: on the good conversations you have during the holidays.
Do this, and you’ll find you have a lot more energy to focus on what really matters this time of year.
2. Breathe and embrace the chaos
It might sound counterintuitive to “embrace the chaos,” but when it comes to surviving the holidays, that’s exactly what you should be doing. Think about it: while this time of year is definitely crazy, it exists for a reason — and life would be a lot more boring without it.
Instead of dwelling on the stressful parts of the holidays, think about what you do like, and embrace it. Do you enjoy getting the perfect gift for someone else? The smile on another person’s face when you’ve written them a touching seasonal note? Or the delicious food you get to make this time of year?
In short, our advice is to breathe, accept the craziness, and embrace the parts of it that you do like.
3. Time is your friend, not your enemy
You’ve probably heard the old adage: “We all have the same amount of hours in the day.” That’s true, but it doesn’t make prepping a Christmas ham any less time-consuming. Instead of treating time like your enemy this holiday season, try thinking differently about how you prioritize your to-do list.
Instead of worrying that you won’t have enough time, tell yourself that you will have enough time. Is there a way you can delegate gift wrapping to a family member or friend while you go out and do meal shopping? Or might you be able to do a little bit less holiday decorating in favor of spending more time engaging in the seasonal traditions you love?
The possibilities are endless when you start to think about what’s possible.
4. Journal about your holiday experience
Sometimes the holidays move so fast that it’s hard to keep track of it all. One way to keep calm while also keeping a working memory of what you’ve done this holiday season involves keeping a journal. Try writing down all the fun activities you’ve got planned, the gifts you’ve given or received, and what you’re grateful for.
If you really like how it feels, try journaling with a partner!
Don’t worry about spending the holidays alone
A lot of people are afraid of spending the holidays alone. That makes sense. After all, this is supposed to be a warm, inviting and memory-filled time of year, and spending it alone can feel disorienting.
Fortunately, there are ways to make your holiday season brighter — even if you’re not celebrating with anyone. Instead of thinking about what spending the holidays with family is like, try getting the “essence” of what you want out of the holidays instead.
Do you want to be surrounded by lots of people and community? Try volunteering at a local nonprofit or soup kitchen. Do you want to help deserving kids receive awesome gifts? Sign up for a gifting service. Do you want to have a fun and cozy night at home? Cook up your favorite meal, make a pot of hot chocolate and open all the amazing gifts you bought yourself.
The holidays are what you make of them
If there’s a common thread throughout this blog, it’s that the holidays don’t have to be what you see on TV. You don’t have to pull your hair out fighting with aunts and uncles, nor do you have to do all the holiday prep yourself. By reflecting on what you want your holiday season to look like, you can take more control over the busiest time of year.