How to Survive the Holidays Without Punching People in the Face.
As we approach holiday time, many of us are beginning to experience those oh so familiar feelings.
Joy and Good Cheer?
Peace on Earth? Fuck NO!
The urge to hit things? DING DING DING
The holidays can be the greatest trigger for some of the nastiest of emotions and behaviors. Trust me, I know. Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays, to a certain degree. Seriously, what's not to love about an abundance of cakes, pies, footie socks, and holiday décor? I LOVE holiday décor!! Oh, and Holiday Music! I can't forget about "Let It Snow." There are so many wonderful things about holiday time; however, for every wonderful moment, there's a "OMG, somebody put me out of my misery" moment. Somewhere around December 20th, I'm official over it. I'm over the traffic, the crowds, the constant ringing of bells EVERYWHERE. WHY SO MANY FREAKIN' BELLS???
This year, I made an early effort to NOT get to the point of gouging my eyeballs out. Here are my 5 tips to keeping your cool AND your sanity during the holidays:
1) Start Shopping Early
I started buying gifts the third weekend in July. Yes, July! Go ahead and marvel in my awesomeness.
There is so much uncertainty in the workforce. While I build this empire, I am bound to an 8 to 5 in an AT WILL state.What this means is that at any given time, my employer could give me the boot without "just cause". I'm pretty damn good at what I do; however, this fact looms over my head daily. So, I am always prepared...most days...ok, more like random Wednesdays. Either way, I didn't want any financial surprises.
Also, purchasing gifts early allowed me the opportunity to avoid holiday traffic AND I didn't have to worry about my son's "must haves" being out of stock or having to wrestle an equally as psycho mother for the last Imaginext Batman Batcave thing. No unnecessary charges. No broken bones. All's well.
2) Wine...Drink All of the Wine.
No, seriously. I stocked up on wine this holiday season. A glass or 5 at the end of the day works wonders on my attitude. I get right into the holiday spirit. Yeeeaah I'm sure my neighbors aren't too thrilled with the drunken caroling, very much out of key I might add. BUT, at least I'm happy and at ease.
* If you don't drink (Bless your heart) try ending your day with some good ole' self care. There are tons of non alcoholic ways to relax. Great sex after the kiddos are put to bed OR knitting. Take your pick.
3) Take the Guess Work Out of Gift Giving
Yes. It is such a romantic idea to know someone so incredibly well that you can just easily go out and purchase the perfect gift for them. That one thing that they would just love and cherish for the rest of their lives. That one gift that they will display and think of you and your love every time they marvel in its wonderfulness.
Um. Snap out of that shit and be realistic. How long will it take you to agonize over what to buy your loved ones? Too freakin long! Avoid the unnecessary anxiety. This type of stress is what makes the holidays unbearable. Start asking for lists of possible gift ideas EARLY. Ask for at least 3 possibles, just in case. A friend of mine uses Amazon Lists to give her friends ideas of great gifts just for her. I did the same for my birthday. That portable stripper pole is STILL on the list, by the way.
For the "Aw, you don't have to get me anything. It's the thought that counts." OR "I have no clue what I want." friends, buy gift cards. Gasp and displeasure. I know. I know. Most thoughtful people hate the idea of gift cards. I used to be one of those people. True, it is not the most personal gift. No, it does not scream "Hey, I know you, know you!". But, it does give the person the freedom to use the funds as they need. You never know. Holiday time kills finances. If not properly planned, a family's credit and financial stability can really take a hit. Those extra coins may be more useful than that beautifully wrapped scarf.
4)Don't Forget About Yourself
Hopefully, you have great family and friends that will shower you with fancy presents and care packages filled with love and chocolate; however, if you are like me (single with a kiddo who is the apple of his grands' and great grands' eye) you might not get showered with luxurious gifts that are specifically for your use only. Welcome to Mommyhood, darling. Seriously, go out and get you something really nice. Budget for it, of course. But splurge on yourself! Sure, that Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer would be fantastic (Santa, Baby?) but truthfully, if you are anything like me, it will be spent baking ALL. OF.THE.THINGS for family, friends, and classmates. Try an expensive bottle of perfume, a fancy pair of shoes, a Benz (it is possible, right?). You deserve something wonderful. Make it happen.
5) Say "Fuck It" and Have Fun
Enjoy the shit out of your annoying family. Don't be too serious. You know your family. You know their strengths, their weaknesses, their uncanny ability to drive you to the brink of insanity. You know that shopping as to be done. Do it all in stride and find the humor. Don't let negative energy bring you down. Protect your peace, at all cost. If that means visiting with family for only a limited amount of time in order to take you some holiday "me" time, then so be it. You deserve peace and joy. Enjoy yourself, no matter what. Dance, sing, drink, laugh. Isn't that what this time of year is all about?
Bridgetta Giles a Family Life Educator specializing in Human Sexuality based in Northwest Louisiana. I provide coaching and educational services to those seeking to grow in love by improving communication, utilizing strengths, and living in their truth. For more information, visit www.bridgettagiles.com