It’s December 1st — don’t stress out

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I got nothin’ today for nail polish or makeup news other than a few minor things I’ve posted on my Facebook page.  Outside, the snow is gently falling, and the gentle scrape of the snow shovels masks the sound of key rings falling out of pockets and disappearing, unnoticed, into snow banks.

Thanksgiving was relatively late this year and here it is the first of December.  Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, some other holiday, or no holiday this month, it’s a stressful time, or it can be.  We’re surrounded by the message, “Buy!  Buy more!  Give lots of stuff or people won’t love you!,” and I apologize if I make the barrage worse by posting so much about new collections, deals, and sales.

I try not to overdo the non-polish/makeup advice, but I’d like to share something that really helped me a few years ago with the holidays.  A lot of stress can happen when wants don’t match reality, and here’s a list that I cobbled together from various sources, mostly the book Unplug the Christmas Machine, plus a few ideas of my own.  I say “Christmas” for everything in the list because that’s the holiday I celebrate this time of year, but adjust it however you want.

Go through the list and put a check mark under “Want” for those things you’d like, no matter how silly they might sound or how unrealistic they are.  Then go through and check off what actually happens under “Reality.”  Wherever there are two check marks together or no check marks, cool.  Those agree.  But if you’d like something that doesn’t happen, or if something is happening that you don’t want, examine the situation and see what you can do.

For example, maybe you fix a huge dinner every year for Christmas but hate it.  You’d rather serve store-bought or have light food and snacks all day.  Talk about it with your family!  Maybe you’d love to go ice skating but it never happens.  Make time to go.  Perhaps you’d love a White Christmas but you live in Florida.  Could a trip to the mountains be do-able?

This list might remind you of something you love or would love that you’d forgotten about.  Year before last, we made my dream of riding in a horse-drawn sleigh come true, and I’ll never forget it.

One of the hardest things at holiday time is wanting something you cannot have, such as time with a relative who has passed or a hug from a friend who refuses to speak to you.  What can you have or do instead?  Remember the good times by looking at photos or videos or baking Nana’s favorite shortbread.  Go hang out with people who do love you.  Stand on a street corner in a Santa hat with a sign that says, “Free Hugs.”

I don’t mean that the holidays have to be all about you, all the time.  Of course not.  You have to compromise with family and friends, you have to live within your budget, and there’s only so much time in a day.  And maybe the LAST thing you need in your life right now is another list.  But for what it’s worth, here goes, and I hope the format is OK.

Christmas: Wants vs. Reality

Want / Reality

_____  ______            Have my immediate family together

_____  ______            Be with my extended family

_____  ______            Not worry about money and/or spend less

_____  ______            The kind of celebration I had as a child

_____  ______            Have or buy certain foods, specifically:

_____  ______            Make certain foods, specifically:

_____  ______            To be invited to parties

_____  ______            To give parties

_____  ______            To have a nicely decorated home

_____  ______            Receive gifts that are practical

_____  ______            Receive gifts that are extravagant

_____  ______            Receive gifts that are fun

_____  ______            To have appreciative children

_____  ______            Enjoy seasonal music

_____  ______            Watch certain movies:

_____  ______            Attend church

_____  ______            Celebrate family customs, specifically:

_____  ______            Get away, take a trip, etc.

_____  ______            Go caroling

_____  ______            Go to a Christmas concert, ballet, etc.

_____  ______            Keep from gaining weight

_____  ______            Break from certain traditions, such as:

_____  ______            Have more excitement

_____  ______            Have more fun

_____  ______            Have more peace & quiet, less rush

_____  ______            Have a simpler Christmas

_____  ______            Spend time with my children

_____  ______            Spend time with my spouse

_____  ______            Spend time with other people

_____  ______            Have a White Christmas

_____  ______            Finish my shopping early

_____  ______            Ship my packages early

_____  ______            Make some of the gifts & cards I give

_____  ______            Get and send Christmas cards

_____  ______            Go for a walk in the snow

_____  ______            Build a snowman

_____  ______            Do something new

_____  ______            Go ice skating

_____  ______            Drive around &look at Christmas lights

_____  ______            Buy gifts for those less fortunate

_____  ______            Volunteer time for a charity

_____  ______            Put up outdoor Christmas lights

_____  ______            Spend some time crafting

_____  ______            Read Christmas books

_____  ______            Have a nice Christmas dinner

_____  ______            Have a fire in the fireplace


Add things, cross things out, ignore altogether.  Do what makes you feel — deep breath now — less stressed.



2 responses »

  1. Catherine Neville

    I love this list. I will use it. You have made my Venus in Virgo very happy!


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