Here we go again, the 'holidays'
What fun, what a bother,
stress for some, relaxation for others,
lots of work and too little time,
many on our lists and not enough money,
more purchases on top of bills or handmade gifts,
time with family and friends,
food galore and sweets abound,
but some go hungry and long for a full tummy.
kids bouncing on beds with excitement
and adults too sometimes.
Depression and loneliness for some
or too much music, laughter
and crowded homes for others,
stimulus overload and wishes for a silent night.
Missing loved ones or making up for lost time.
Remembering those who have gone on before us
and won't be with us this year
or inviting a lonely person or family
to share in our joy and abundance.
Family members away to war
or fighting gang wars right here at home.
From 50 to 100 or 1 to 49,
This Holiday season will touch us all somehow.RJM 2009
What ever your thoughts or state mind and spirit, the holidays represent a time of extremes. If we remember that this next two months will be the most stressful months of the year for many, maybe we can be a little more prepared to work together to make it more enjoyable for ourselves and others around us.
Sometimes simpler is really better and if you start feeling stressed and pressured to keep up with traditions or expensive plans for Thanksgiving or Christmas, remember what the holiday really represents and go back to the basics. You may find this year to be the most enjoyable one you and your family will have.
Here are a few 'simpler' ideas but afterwards please make a list of your own to see what you can do to get back to the basics and fully enjoy the true meaning and reason for the season coming up. You may be creating new traditions that your family will remember and treasure the most. Please comment with some of your own ideas as I would love to hear them.
1. Tree or no tree. For some, especially the elderly, the chore of getting either a live tree or even setting up a 'fake' one as I call them is just too much. You can either buy a very small 'fake' tree that can set on a coffee table or end table which takes up little room and only needs a few little ornaments to make it pretty.
A fun craft is to make your own little tree with several readers digest magazines. I will add the instructions for making one in a future post well before Christmas. Offer to set up someones tree for them if they are not able but would still like to enjoy having one in their home.
2. Instead of exchanging expensive gifts among family adults, ask each to either make a small craft (wood, metals, fabrics, photos or painting. Even a personal letter letting that person know what they mean to you and how they have positively touched your life can make a very special gift. Just for fun, there is always the white elephant or gag gifts for the fun loving groups and these can have a dollar amount limit.
3. For kids, getting them involved with making and creating special gifts for others gives them a sense of acomplishment and they can realize that giving is actually enjoyable and good for them too. Even a homemade Christmas card colored with crayons can be special. NOTE: Every year I helped my children and foster children make gifts for their families and grandparents. We made wood crafts, homemade bread one year and pies the next. We made Christmas cards with white paper and glued yarn on the front to create Christmas scenes.
For a few years we made special Christmas baskets made out of whatever materials we could come up with and then we filled them with a few pieces of fruit, nuts and candy and then made little angel ornaments with noodles and painted them gold. These baskets were given to elderly people around our block and area that we knew were alone or had no family near.
4. Sharing with others: We usually host a fun Christmas party for some our extended family and friends and we try to include one or two neighbors or friends who are alone for the holidays or have a spouse in the war, etc. It's fun to get to know other people and they definitely gain the sense of family while they are with us.
5. Offering your time to other's can be a wonderful gift and giving a personal card with a 'gift certificate' from you offering or promising your time to help a neighbor clean out their garage, or a colleage help on a special project. Maybe, if you have a special talent you can offer that as a gift. A person's time is usually precious, especially now-a-days with all the hustle and bustle and technology. Whether you are too busy or just don't notice, there is always someone around you that needs a helping hand once in awhile.
6. If big meals are usually part of your holiday plans and you are usually the one to put on the 'feast' of the day, maybe you need to change to a potluck approach which let's everyone feel like they've shared in the meal. Don't be afraid to ask for some help for preperations before a get to gether and for help getting things put back in order afterwards.
Sometimes guests just don't know what you need or don't feel comfortable stepping in at someone elses home. I've always used a 'we're all at home' approach and I will usually delegate small dinner chores, even to guests if they seem interested. What a better way to make someone more comfortable in sharing time and a meal then to make them part of the process and part of the team.
There are so many more ideas and useful ways to make your life easier during the holidays but I would like to hear yours, ok? Please comment with your own ideas and I'll try to add them on my next post.
What an oportune time to gift yourself to someone this season.
I can't wait!