Sanity-Saving Strategies For The Holiday Season

Thursday, November 22, 2012

By Karen Kwan

The holidays are happy times, right? Then why is it that every time December rolls around you find yourself with your stress levels at an all-time high? Vow to make this year different. We’ve broken down some of the top scenarios that can get you all frenzied during this festive time of year, and how to stay in control of the situation and your happiness.

The shopping insanity at the mall
The pressure to find just the right gift, the crush of shoppers pushing and shoving you in the mall—all of this can make it easy to lose your cool. First off, you’ll be better off if you start your shopping early (as in now) so you can avoid the frenzy as Christmas draws nearer. Alternatively, consider suggesting to your family or group of friends to not exchange gifts with everyone this year, but rather to draw names (so that you only have to shop for one gift) or to use the gift money to go out for dinner altogether instead.

The family obligations
Having to drive (or fly) from one family’s house to another and eating holiday meal after holiday meal can be exhausting. Put your foot down and establish some ground rules for the holidays going forward—such as alternating from your family’s get-together to your partner’s each year. Or if you truly want to head to a beach rather than spend another evening watching your uncle get inebriated and have him push his opinions on you over dinner, make a bold move and skip the family dinner and book that tropical getaway (just promise Mom and Dad you’ll see them before you hop on the plane). If you’re not feeling gutsy enough to do that, then plan to limit your family visit to a tolerable amount of time (ie. before your blood starts to boil).

The hosting duties
Every year, you plan an elaborate cocktail party. And every year, you become a complete basketcase over it because you have so little time and you put way too much pressure on yourself to make it a Colin Cowie-level of affair from the decor to the cocktails and the food. Ease back on your perfectionist ways this season. Make the party a potluck and have everyone bring their favourite app to share, or prepare half of canapés you’re famous for and then serve purchased platters—your friends and family won’t judge.

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