November 28, 2018

Turning Holiday Bah Humbugs Into Festive Fa-la-las

As soon as the clock strikes midnight on Halloween my brain turns from visions of ghosts, ghouls, and candy comas to turkeys, mistletoe, and too many Amazon packages arriving on my doorstep. At that point it’s official...the holidays have arrived.

Turns out, the season when all is supposed to be merry and bright is actually a time of great angst for many people.  Those who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder typically feel an increase in their symptoms during the holiday season. And, even those who don’t, report heightened feelings of anxiety and stress.

Personally, I fall into the second camp.  Throughout most of the year, I can go with the flow without flinching a muscle. But the holidays...oh, the holidays are a different story.  

I wake up in the mornings praying I don’t receive a text asking me to fit another thing in my schedule.  I try to avoid ANY conversation that might create a change in family plans that were laid out months ago, and I get queasy at the thought of trying to find another “perfect” Christmas gift.

This year, I wanted things to be different. So, as the the end of October was approaching (quickly and with vengeance) I decided to evaluate my holiday mindset.  What I found...I was not prepared for.

I was creating my own anxiety around the holidays by setting expectations of perfection.

I wanted to make everyone happy. I wanted to get the perfect gifts. I wanted the scrapbook-worthy, Instagram double-tapping pictures. I was sucking all the fun out of the best time of the year by trying to live up to some unrealistic (Pinterest poison) picture of what I thought the holidays should look like.  I was getting it all wrong.

Now for the good news--if you are feeling all blah bah humbug about upcoming festivities, there might be hope for you yet!

Allow yourself to say no.

Family dinners, work parties, Friendsgiving, and kiddo concerts are a lot to pack into a few weeks out of the year. Especially when that time is also supposed to be spent cozied up by a fire, purchasing presents, and sending out cards to 1000 of your closest friends.  This year, instead of trying to jam everything into the schedule leaving no room to breathe, I am allowing myself to say no. Set the days you want for yourself aside and don’t let spur of the moment plans encroach on those days. This will help you keep your sanity and allow you to feel like you’re getting the most out of your holiday season.

Set realistic expectations for gift-giving.

I know it might come as a shock, but you don’t HAVE to get everyone the perfect gift.  It’s actually practically impossible to find a 100% unique and meaningful gift for your mom, aunt, grandfather, and friend who sits two cubes down. So, this year, join me in allowing yourself to buy a scarf or candle (they can be nice scarves and candles) and move on. I hear the world won’t end if I do...so I’m gonna give it a try.

Just have fun.

Yes, this is generic advice but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it to heart. The holidays are for making memories and having fun-so do that and don’t feel guilty about it. If you don’t make EVERY Christmas cookie recipe from your grandma’s cookbook, it’s OKAY! Heck, it’s even okay if you use storebought dough and throw some frosting on it (I won't tell) as long as you are having fun!

So, here’s to jingling all the way into the New Year and having a happy, healthy, (at least almost) stress-free Holiday Season! Ho, ho, ho!

About the Author 


Ellie is a talented momma, wife and career girl. When she’s not fueling up at the local coffee shop, she’s busy helping women discover their true potential on Grow Yourself Girl and Buzzy Blogs.

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