It’s a shame to miss the joy of the holiday season by letting stress and anxiety take over, but some people do not look forward to what the celebrations may entail. Expecting stress can be a self-fulfilling prophesy, so make this the December that’s different. Finding time to relax can be difficult for workaholics who don’t enjoy being away from their all-encompassing work schedule, but those people especially need down time to refresh and renew themselves.
Loneliness is difficult for those whose family members are far away, but friends can be invited for dinner or a shopping trip, and volunteering for a worthy cause is rewarding. Many organizations need help at this time of year, and helping others in need really does provide that warm, fuzzy feeling.
Christmas shopping doesn’t have to be a mad stampede at the mall. Plan a day with a good friend that includes breaks for refreshments and shop at smaller local stores or holiday gift boutiques. Get together with family or friends who have craft skills and combine efforts to make homemade gifts. Even the most uncoordinated individuals can put personalized gifts in a basket and make it look festive with cellophane wrap and ribbon. Online shopping and ordering is a boon to anyone desperate to avoid stores and crowds. A computer or smartphone and a credit card can send a gift on its way and often gift wrapped to boot.
Some people love making an entire holiday feast from scratch, while others are horrified at the prospect of cooking a big meal for guests. Those without cooking skills need not panic. Every item of a holiday dinner, from appetizers to dessert, can be purchased, cooked and ready to eat with just a little warming up. The host can set a pretty table with his or her best china and entertain guests without lifting a finger to cook.
If there are children in the family, they may spend a lot of time using digital gadgets and little time interacting with family members. Take them back in time by spending an afternoon or evening stringing popcorn and cranberries to make garlands for the Christmas tree, or make old-fashioned paper chains to put on the tree or anywhere you please. It’s difficult to feel stressed or anxious while doing something fun with children. If a fireplace is available, s’mores can be toasted indoors. They’re great with a mug of cocoa.
Look online and see which local chorales are performing Christmas concerts, they can be found in churches, malls and other locations and the music is always beautiful. Take a walk or a drive around the neighborhood to see all the houses decorated with lights. People go all out at this time of year and some are quite spectacular.
Help the children in the family make homemade Christmas cards, some construction paper, ribbon, scissors, glitter, glue and colored pens are all that’s needed to turn out special cards for special people.
It’s the simple things that make a holiday memorable.
Written by Veronica McNamara, Sovereign Health Group writer
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