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.