Survival Guide to the Holidays

Survival Guide to the Holidays

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Fairmont Banff Springs


The holidays are just days away. For many they are already merrily underway. If you’re stressing about the last bits of preparation, don’t fret; I’ve got you. I’ve prepared a must-do list of everything that will keep you on track – and become everyone’s favourite - this holiday season.

Be sure to get every person on your list a thoughtful, personal gift. Show your love. No one likes a Grinch. But don’t fall into the trap of consumerism. It’s so gross. Next, make homemade gifts like cookies and cakes and nibbles for all your festivities and prove how much you care. But have you heard making your own treats is a waste of precious time? Buy from your peer-vetted, best local bakeries instead. Up next, be sure to dress to impress for each and every holiday activity. But really you should skip dressing up; wear pajamas at Christmas dinner for maximum eating potential. Don’t miss out: get outside – skating, sledding, or hiking – and connect to what really matters. If it’s too “winter” out there, why not flip nature a bird and stay cosy inside and binge watch movies? Do you want to be the true winner this year? Save yourself time and trouble by ordering in your favourite food this holiday. But you also must make sure the meal you prepare is all made from scratch as buying is cheating and so tacky, right? Also, have your heard? Stuffing the kiddies stockings to the brim and watch their excitement build until they almost explode is a key to a successful holiday. Of course, don’t spoil kids at Christmas as it’s mixed messaging for the rest of the year where you practice routine and restraint.

Stop.

I’m messing with you.

Now that you’ve calmed down a bit can we all agree that it’s exhausting, right? Everyone has an opinion, they often conflict with one another, and there’s a source to support each and every one. Expectations are so, so high. Why not go ahead and set your own expectations? Yas, Christmas Queen.

Who are you listening to this year? If the answer is anyone but yourself, why? My gentle suggestion is to pick what matters to you the most and focus all you actual F’s on that one thing. Let the rest happen but remove any personal expectations associated with them.

Dolly Parton famously said, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” Yes, Dolly. A life well-lived is a selected life where you get to choose what - and what not - to do. I’m a firm believer in the motto, “You can have anything you want, just not everything.” And certainly not all at once.

This Christmas, save yourself some stress and focus on what gives you true, blissed out-to-the-max joy. When that “thing” comes up, give that thing your all.

If you have to do something you’re not as much into so that you are kind to someone else – say a family member / spouse / friend / pet - do it. ‘Tis the season. However, may I suggest a shift in thinking about it? I’ll be giving this pep talk to myself,  

“I will do this for Beyonce, because I love Beyonce and don’t want to break her spirit. Let her sparkle. But I am not the lead. Beyonce is the lead on this. My opinion or thoughts don’t matter because this is not about me. Rather, I will play the enthusiastic, supportive family member / spouse / friend / pet and go along for her ride. And when it’s the one thing I really care about – say beautifully wrapped gifts – then I’ll play a leading role.”

What’s your holiday thing? Is it spending time with loved ones? Is it giving thoughtful gifts? Is it dressing for the party? Is it donating your time or funds to worthy causes in lieu of a physical gift? Perhaps it’s making a festive cocktail? How about decorating your home or singing along to carols blasting on the stereo? Maybe it’s a long-lived tradition in your family. Or have you tried starting a new tradition? Is it enjoying a delicious meal? Is it playing around with kids? The list goes on. But you don’t have to – and really shouldn’t want to – do it all. It’s likely too much for any one person in such a short period of time.

Before you get swept up into a glittery fruit cake pile of ho-ho-ho, be sure it’s a pile of ho-ho-ho that you’re actually into.

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