Ho Ho Humbug? Holiday Confessions About the Not-So-Easy Stuff

It’s incredibly hard to believe that Christmas is just a little over two weeks away – do you have all of your shopping done? I’m feeling a little ahead of the game this year, and we’re expecting quite a few packages this week!

We’re hosting Christmas Eve at our house for the first time this year, so I’m busy planning my cleaning days, prepping days and cooking days ahead of time so it’s relatively stress-free. Please share any and all tips in the comments section! 🙂

Like many people, I love this time of year and the older I get, the more important it is for me to spend quality time with my family, and the holidays lend an easy excuse to schedule events and get-togethers.

One thing I want to make sure I say about this time of year is this: the holidays are hard for a lot of people. Over the past few weeks and months, I’ve seen more friends than I can count on both of my hands lose family members – parents, grandparents, and extended family. I lost my Grandma 5 years ago the week of Thanksgiving, so even though I love the holiday itself – it always brings some bittersweet memories to the surface. This just serves as a reminder to be kind to people, because you never know what they’re facing daily.

This year is going to be trying for our family – as it could very well be my dad’s last Christmas. Wow – typing that sentence just about brought me to my knees. I’ve thought about it and talked about it, but haven’t actually written it down yet. We’re planning to have a wonderful holiday, filled with laughter and JOY and of course the inevitable mixed emotions circling under the surface. I usually don’t share too much about my personal life here on LCFF, but I recently reflected on the holiday season and how cancer has turned our family upside down over on my personal blog: Thoughts on the Holidays. I KNOW I’m not the only one dealing with a situation like this, and I’ve found sharing my experiences to be surprisingly therapeutic.

holidays Ho Ho Humbug? Holiday Confessions About the Not-So-Easy Stuff

I can say with certainty that even though I love the holidays, they are hard. They can cause anxiety and stress for people. It’s really important to keep your mental health in check during this time. If you are affected by any stress or worry, don’t forget to take a step back and make sure you and those around you are doing well, and feeling good.

I have a few ideas for small changes that can be made during the holiday season to alleviate some pressure:

Don’t put pressure on yourself: Understand that expectations lie to you. Thanks to the never-ending Christmas ads and people constantly sharing their holiday highlights it’s easy to build up particular expectations. Instead, remind yourself to practice gratitude for what you do have.

Plan time for yourself: Take some time for you, whether it’s a long hot shower, or a quiet Netflix/reading session by yourself. It’s important to spend time with your loved ones during the holidays, but not if you’re putting your own mental health at risk. Spend time with your family, but make sure you set aside some time for you and do something you really love, even if it’s only for 10 minutes.

Schedule Christmas-free days: Definitely schedule ‘No Holiday’ days: no writing cards, no wrapping, baking, shopping, etc. Instead, make it a day to lie on the couch and watch a movie. Also don’t over schedule; don’t feel like you have to go to all the parties.

Now – time to check all those tracking numbers… and also soak in the cheer all around us. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

-Martha