I don't need a calendar to tell me the month. It's December ... hustle and bustle is happening outside my window. Someone is ringing the bell for Salvation Army donations at the Post Office and people rush in and out. Some of them pause. Others of them seem harried. There seems to be more traffic on the roads and the line at Starbucks extends outside the door.
What is that? Oh ... yeah ... the "holiday season" is upon us. And with the rush of cold comes this frenzy. People seem frantic. Rushed. Pressured. Tense. Distracted and Stressed. No one strolls casually at this time of year. The pace is fast ... so are the heart-rates.
Gotta get it done. Gotta get it bought. Gotta shop. Gotta wrap. Gotta plan and clean and decorate. Gotta make a list. Gotta find that gift. Gotta ... gotta ... gotta .... Just typing these words makes my heart skip a little faster.
I hardly think the idea of a Happy Holiday Season was to give yourself a panic attack. Why then do we choose this course of action ... this crazed, frenetic behavior? (Yes, we do choose it.) Is this rush truly the key to making our loved ones' eyes sparkle and showcase that good feeling holiday magic?
Consider another option ... Stop wherever you are, take a deep breath, sigh it out and remember this December to KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid ... er, my daughter would tell me that is a not nice word so let's go with Silly. Keep It Simple Silly.
- When you decorate, take your time. If it takes a few days, so it takes a few days.
- When you wrap, put on your favorite holiday movie and pour yourself a nice beer or a glass of wine or my personal holiday fav ... Bailey's with some Peppermint Schnapps. Drink it in a festive glass. (I'm sure there is an easy non-alcoholic version you can makeshift with similar ingredients. I just personally enjoy the "leaded" version.) Sit on the floor and enjoy placing those gifts in fooler boxes, wrapping and writing messages.
- If baking is your thing, make it fun. I bake with my kids. It gets messy. I put on my iPod Christmas Mix and let it happen as it happens. M&M Cookies. Peanut Butter Blossoms. Sugar Cut Outs .. Oh, and I have one friend who is an amazing frost-er. Her talent is impressive. So I invite her over to frost sugar cookies ... and chat, catch-up and laugh. While I get the baking done, I also enjoy a spontaneous grown up play date!
- Shop local. Shop on-line. Me, I seek surprises for the special people who give me so much all year long ... and I buy off lists as well. It's a mix. But, I do a little at a time and think about it as I go. I try not to be a reactionary or aggressive shopper. (You will never find me at Wal-mart at 4am -- no matter how good the deal!) I have a passion for seeking the "Special Gift"... you know, the one I find when I'm not truly looking. I think about the person and then add my own elfish magic. It makes the shopping fun for me. Apply your own "tricks of the trade." Just take the stress out as far as you can.
- Be kind to yourself this month. Here's something I do ...I pause a bit during the shopping or decorating or what-evering for a little "me" time. I watch the kids visiting Santa. I enjoy a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks. I gaze at the windows at Tiffany's -- no, I don't go in. Or, I enjoy a decadent treat. Try that. And remember to breathe.
- If it doesn't get done, it just doesn't get done.
Don't get me wrong. I can rush thru that list as easily as the next guy. I can check it off and get it done. But, I'd rather not. I'd rather remember what this season means and enjoy time with the special people in my life than have them rush about trying to grant me a "wish" in the form of a package. My WISH this holiday season is for a call ... a text ... a note ... a handwritten letter ... a "Hey, I was thinking of you wanna grab a beer/coke/coffee/snack ... " An experience ... time with the people I treasure.
KISS. And if you want to interpret that literally, that's okay too. :) Take a little time this season and share some joy and love with the dazzling people who surround you. Pretty simple. Not silly. Just remember, when everything seems to be spinning around you, take a deep breath ... sigh it out ... and KISS.
Mistletoe optional :)