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It is six weeks before Christmas and I’m sitting at my computer dreading the days ahead. I’m staring at my monstrous list of things to do, wishing the holiday was over. I become an uptight witch and want to hide under my bed covers, not emerging until January 2nd.
I’m not really a scrooge. I love driving around to view the homes so creatively decked out, the smell of home baked Christmas cookies gifted to me every year, and Christmas carols on the radio begging me to sing along. It excites me to catch up on the past year’s gossip with friends and family.
However, it saddens me when all the fuss overshadows the joy of the season.
Do I really have to drive to multiple stores and max out my credit cards? Must I buy all the food and cater to those with special dietary restrictions? Do I have to invite everyone to my house, spending days cleaning and cooking before they arrive? Can I just enjoy their company without falling down exhausted from the preparations?
One of the biggest anxiety triggers is when I end up doing all the work alone. I hate being stuck in the kitchen while the others are telling stories and laughing in the living room, leaving me out.
If this sounds all too familiar, I have a plan capable of helping us through holiday stress and anxiety.
It involves delegating tasks to others. This is not always so simple if, like myself, you are unsure if they will do as good a job.
1. For those wanting to exchange gifts, send each other “a holiday wish list.” As gifts are selected, others are notified, preventing duplicates. This way, everyone is thrilled to get something they really want, rather just an item to regift at the first opportunity.
2. Buy gifts online and have them delivered to our front door means not having to put up with crowds. A limit is set to how many gifts per person or how much money to spend for each person.
3. Send out family photos and holiday greetings by email and other social media.
4. Enlist those you live with to clean and tidy the house and yard.
5. For the main meal, select an entree, then ask others to bring side dishes and dessert. Those with special diets can bring what they need to eat.
On Christmas Day:
6. Have someone else set the table and serve the drinks.
7. Everyone helps to clear the table.
8. Each guest can bring their own empty left-over containers.
9. Younger guests can disperse the presents.
10. Wrapping paper and trash are gathered up by everyone.
At the end of the day, sometimes guests are having such a great time they don’t want to go home, but by then I feel worn out. Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself and go into another room to relax while others continue to talk. Later, you can still come out and say good-bye.
This plan allows me to enjoy the holiday without feeling resentment when I have to do all the work.
I plan on having a great holiday season this year, and hope you do as well! With the help of others, this can happen for many years to come.
Lynn is a retiree living in south Florida who wants to help those who have been emotionally and verbally abused. She also volunteers in several recovery groups for those with a loved one who is an alcoholic, drug addict or has extreme mood swings. For fun, she loves to write fictional stories which will inspire as well as entertain. Lynn enjoys gardening, swimming, reading mystery novels, and singing in a church choir.
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