I grew up in a home with dysfunctional mother that made holidays well, stressful. Add a retail career managing bookstores during my young adult years and well, I hated the holidays. It’s so great that in our grown up years we get to live out own life. We get to pick and choose our own traditions. Pick the people you want to invest time in and surround yourself with people you want to be around.
Remember How The Grinch Stole Christmas? Oh yeah, that's right, he didn't... because even when the Grinch took it all away...
It came without ribbons, It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes or bags!
Every who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any present at all!
He had not stopped Christmas from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
And he thought...
Maybe Christmas,doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Christmas... perhaps...
means a little bit more!
So this Holiday season don’t stress out about all events you feel obligated to go to. You don’t have to attend anything you don’t want to. Don’t freak out over the shopping and gift lists... Give the gift of yourself and simply spend some time with your friends and family.
Here are some ideas...
Are there friends and neighbors you would like to get together with, but who usually spend Thanksgiving with their own family? Host a Black PIE Day and invite your friends over for pie and games. You'll need to refuel if you got sucked into the retail madness of the day anyway!
Later in the weekend you will start to get sick of leftovers... So host a Thanksgiving leftover potluck Sunday afternoon or a Monday lunch with the ladies from church! (If you live near me and your reading this, your invited Monday at noon –Bring something you made out of thanksgiving leftovers! Don’t forget your recipe!)
How about skip exchanging gifts with your children’s friends and plan a fun activity instead. Last year we went roller skating with some friends. We weren’t able to pick a day we were both available until January, but if you count the Holidays as Thanksgiving to Valentines it counts! I had not been on skates in 15 years and it was a ton of fun!
Have a homeless Christmas. Yes, just like on a sitcom Christmas special... you know, when they invite some random homeless person to dinner and by the end of the hour their problems are all solved. Ok, so not really homeless… but having the neighbors over because we are all snowed in is a lot of fun! We did this last year. Totally unplanned, I served them the best Mormon dinner they ever had (ham and funeral potatoes) and we made some lifelong friends. So invite someone random to your holiday dinner.
Buy your children less gifts and let them go with you to buy gifts for an angel tree. We do this every year and it’s a tradition we all look forward to.
Invite your child’s friends over to make gingerbread houses. Ask everyone to bring a bag of candy (red hots, M&M’s, etc.) all you provide is the icing and gingerbread (or cheat and use graham crackers). We have done this for years and I didn’t realize how much Awsumb loved it. I figured it might be something we could skip this year, but just yesterday he was begging to do it again.
Whenever a friend drops by during the holidays invite them in and share short story. A friend of mine does this and we loved being part of her tradition! She even had some of those great break apart oranges on hand and sent one home with us to share.
Invite friends over to work on your Christmas cards together. And don’t forget the soldiers… A few years ago Awsumb colored an entire coloring book of super hero pictures and we made Christmas cards out of them for the soldiers.
And finally, don’t forget the board games! There’s nothing better than an evening of board game fun with good friends!
What do you enjoy doing during the holidays that breaks away from the usual hustle and bustle?