If you’re like me, then December conjures freshly baked sweets, joyous parties, and movie marathons. It’s that most wonderful time of the year when we get to wrap our homes in shiny bright lights and stick an elf on the shelf or maybe in a marshmallow bath if you really want to love on yours as I do. It’s also that imperfect time of the year for the festive crazies.
Our stress levels can be at their highest during this period. Sometimes the holidays require us to dig deep because a lot of feelings can bubble up whether we like it or not. Often, we feel the pressure of creating holiday magic for our loved ones as well as the unconscious expectations of living up to the childhood memories that we perceived. Add to this, goals that came up short, loved ones that may no longer be with us and emotions of others that you have no control over. In truth, the magic of the season can wear off pretty fast if we allow it to. So, with Christmas just a few days away, here are some strategies to help you save your sanity and ensure that you keep off of the crazy holiday train.
When you start feeling out of sync, take a time out to figure out what’s happening inside of you. Observe with no judgment. If you can witness what’s transpiring, then it’s easier to take charge of your thoughts. It doesn’t mean denying or ignoring them. It merely means identifying patterns so that you can see them, acknowledge them and then transform them.
Make a Holiday Bucket List
Trying not to do it all is easier said than done, especially when others might be counting on you. One way to cope with this is to create a holiday bucket list. Chose a handful of things that will fill you with holiday spirit and bring more joy to your life (or your families if you want to make this a joint effort). These are the things that you vow to happen, no matter how busy the season gets. Plug into family, the traditions that you want to create and then you can add other activities around that.
SHOP MY INSPIRATION
Try Not To Compare
Especially during the holidays, there is a temptation to compare oneself to others. How do you measure up to other family members, friends, Instagram posts - you get the jest. Comparing can lead to distorted perceptions and self-doubt. Don’t buy into the scarcity mindset. Instead, soothe yourself by aiming to focus on the abundant qualities that you do have.
Healthy boundaries create a framework that lets people know how to treat you. They support you by creating respect, mutuality and kindness. The holidays can add extra challenges. You may become more passive and not want to voice your needs for fear of guilt or ruining a special occasion. Family is especially masterful at pushing buttons that can trigger us slipping back into patterns that we worked hard to untangle ourselves from previously. If you observe this happening then tell yourself “stop.” You are entitled to ask for what you want or need. Say “no” without guilt and “yes” because you want to, not out of obligation or to please others. Don’t be a martyr, but do act according to your own beliefs and values.
Stay on Task
It’s obvious that to avoid meltdowns, stay on task. It’s best to organize tasks, wrap presents ahead of time, don't get crazed in the kitchen as a family/friends co-chef and filter invitations over this next week so that you celebrate Christmas and New Year's truly having fun.
The struggle is real. It’s hard enough trying to schedule downtime in an average week let alone during the prelude to your holiday festivities. But, the reality is that when you carve out commitment-free time, you are showing up better for yourself and others. We are two days away from Christmas. Now is the best time that you can give yourself a few hours of downtime.
Throw Your Hands In The Air Like You Just Don’t Care
There may come a point when the holidays get hectic (by now they usually are) and sanity goes out the window. Maybe you over-schedule, forget to buy a present or worse still someone else let you down. It’s time to practice grace and try your best to go with the flow. Instead of stressing out about what you can’t change, permit yourself to let go of the struggle. Take a breath, focus on how to re-empower yourself and move on. It’s all going to be okay. You’ve got this!
If all else fails, here's my recipe for homemade reindeer brownies. Sure to bring a smile to your face, these are so much fun to make and just the cutest. Our family and friends love these!!!
Makes a 9x13 tray of brownies.
Duncan Hines Milk Chocolate Brownie Mix Extra Thick & Fudgy (my brownie baking hack when I'm short on time - follow recipe ingredients and directions)
Heart Shaped Cookie Cutter
Candy Eyeballs – I like the Wilton brand
Brach's Cinnamon Imperials
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon water
Ziplock sandwich bag
Prepare brownie mix according to ingredients and directions. Once baked let it rest for approximate a 1/2 hour.
Using your cookie cutter, cut hearts out of the brownies. My cutter is just over 2” and I am able to get approximately 15 hearts out of a 9×13 brownie sheet.
Break pretzels into antler shapes. This doesn't have to be perfect so make the shapes that you want.
Place powdered sugar into the corner of a sandwich bag. Pour the water into bag and mix by kneading sugar and water until it thickens into icing. If it's too runny, add a tad more sugar and if it's too thick, add a tad more water.
Cut the tip of the bag and pipe the icing onto the back of the eyeballs and cinnamon candy nose. Place onto brownie hearts to shape a face.
Insert two pretzel pieces per brownie heart to create antlers.
Allow the reindeer to rest and chat with one another for an hour, after all they deserve a holiday before being eaten too!