Here we are ,dear readers, – the holidays. I hope if you are in the United States you had the chance to see friends or family or volunteer and had a good Thanksgiving. Now comes the other big holidays. I will refer to Christmas because that is what I personally celebrate. There are a lot of things that are hard for me over the holiday season and I will get to that in future posts. Today I thought I would talk about the prep leading up to the holidays that may make it a little easier if we just hear someone else say it.
- STICK TO A BUDGET
This time of year is a big ole money crunch month. We want to buy so much for those we care about. The options are endless. I have bought everything, except for my boyfriend, and yet I want to buy more. Sales abound. Continuous Black Friday deals. A Cyber Monday that doesn’t end. Temptation is everywhere. Our family does Christmas lists which makes it even harder because I then think, “OH! I want to give him/her that, too.” I finished shopping a month or more ago, disregarding lists to come. So, whether we have a lot or a little items to make or items to buy, it is time to set a budget because our bills will still be due this month – rent/mortgage, television, phone, insurance, home insurance warranty, internet. That is right, dear reader, some things never change. Set a reasonable budget. Do not count on your usual bonuses because what if this year there is no bonus. Look at your bank account, take into consideration paydays before Christmas. And please, do not load up those credit cards.
- DON’T GET CRAZY WITH THE CLEANING
Now, I am not saying do not tidy up for company, just how about we do not go bananas. My mom goes cleaning crazy when she has guests coming, cleaning things no one will notice. Of course, there are things people will notice like the floor so I understand that, but other things can be pushed aside and cause less stress. By now, we all know I am a messy person. I have been keeping it a bit more tidy (boyfriend and all). I will straighten up my house but will not be washing the windows, if we understand.
- DECORATE (OR DON’T) THE WAY YOU WANT
I love my white Christmas tree and now that I am a grown up with a house of my own and the dogs get no say, I can decorate it however I wish. If you prefer, go out and get the real deal (keeping in mind your budget). By decorative ornaments at a discount store and voila – Christmas in the house.
- KEEP YOUR EXPECTATIONS LOW
Expectations for the holidays often get set too high. We watch the movies that always have a happy ending. Christmas carols bring good cheer. That damn Christmas tree needs more presents under it. Our family we have not seen in a long time descend. We want Christmas dinner to be great. But what if all our plans fall through and Christmas is nothing like we intended. It will be okay because we have set our expectations low, not in a bah-humbug sort of way, but in a it is okay if it is not perfect sort of way.
- IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY
Among all the holiday cheer, for some of us this is a very difficult time of year. I want all of us to know, it is okay not to be okay. But do not hide and isolate, reach out to someone. Find a shoulder to cry on. Find a hand to hold. Know that this is but a blink in our life and things will get better. I promise.