6 Proven Holiday Success Strategies
- Forget the ‘perfect’ holiday - Hallmark movies aren’t real life. It would take me a month to decorate the house like they do on TV. The turkey isn’t always uniformly brown with filling spilling in a perfect, round mound out it’s butt. One year I put a Santa hat on Jake and tried to do a sing-along at the piano. He said, "Seriously Mom, none of us can sing." Some people are cranky, some are cheerful and, sometimes, if you’re the crank you want to snark at the cheerful. Let’s be realistic. It is important to make an effort because, after all, the holidays are a special time of year for all of us. Just don’t put so much pressure on yourself that YOU can’t enjoy this time too. Besides, piano sing-alongs look like more fun in the movies than they are in real life.
- Don’t commit to too much - I used to be a ‘Yes’ woman. Need a hostess? Me, me, me. Need someone to cook? Me, me, me. Cookie exchange, secret Santa, family tree outing, cocktail party...me, me, me. Now, I did a complete 360 and don’t commit to anything. My favorite reply is, “I’ll let you know!” Then I decide if it's do-able, will it be enjoyable and do I have adequate time to do it right. Result: All the stuff I do say “Yes” to, I enjoy along with everyone else involved.
- Family Dinner - Some people really like to cook; some do not. I view this as one of those negotiable things. My mother-in-law loves to cook for the family and is really good at it. She baked 13 pies for Thanksgiving one year. Every variety imaginable. I no longer feel the need to be the hostess and main cook. I do try to be sure that if someone else is hosting, I volunteer several side dishes if they do the main meat. This works very well in our family and, after all, sharing is caring.
- Minimize - I now do only our favorite decorations, desserts, events etc. You can apply this theory everywhere during the holidays. Decoration - lights outside, wreath on door, tree and a few items on the shelves. Desserts - no longer bake cookies we don’t like just because they’re tradition and stopped buying fruitcake in the futile hope that this year it will be good. Events - we chucked the fresh tree outing and so-so holiday concert and now enthusiastically look forward to driving through Sweet Lights and putting up our fake tree.
- Find some alone time - Even in the hustle and bustle, I need to find some time for myself or I become the crank as described above. I walk the dog, go into another room to read, sit and watch the chickens peck the ground, pretend I’m checking on the bees and occasionally I do this weird thing where I just sit in the attic. Actually, that’s kind of fun because I find all kinds of interesting, old stuff to look at. I found my first tuition bill for college. It was $800 a semester back in 1981.
- Go away - One year, my girlfriend and I decided to escape family drama and went to Charleston, SC for Thanksgiving. We had a fabulous time. This year, I hinted to my husband about going to our camp in Potter county for a change of scenery. Why not? I like the idea because there’s nothing to do there. No chores, no laundry, no cleaning, no projects. I mean, we’ll have to clean up after ourselves, but it’s not like being at home where there’s always stuff to do. We'll eat and have to talk to each other...it’s a small camp.