by Kimberly A. Cook (Twitter@ WarriorTales)
On Saturday, November 1st, I dashed into our local Freddie’s store to pick up some items I forgot the day before. Stopped short in my loafers – Christmas had exploded in the store. Looked around and did a mental double-take. I was eating Halloween candy YESTERDAY, right? The orange and black decorations were all gone and it was full press holiday overload. Like the elves and a thousand minions re-did the entire store overnight. Must have been some good spiked eggnog.
In the military when something expanded or moved up we called that mission creep. Now we’ve got Christmas creep or Kwanza Creep or Holiday hustle. Pick your personal celebration. It’s enough to make my frazzled brain ask for a holiday time out. Seems buying bathing suits in January isn’t bad enough, now we lose out on the discount Halloween candy! Is there no justice?
Each year I surrender earlier to the holidays. Really reduces my stress level. Lower your expectations, it’s a great thing. We’ve even decided to have pizza for Christmas and friends are cooking for us on turkey day. A first. Fabulous!
I used to slave over making the pie crusts from scratch for turkey day until my brother-in-law’s mother confessed she used Pillsbury pre-made pie crusts. The family was stunned and shocked. I had no idea her amazing pies were not scratch crusts, so I decided to do the same thing. (I think mixing up the Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe and pouring it in the pie pans counts as cooking, don’t you? I add evaporated milk, eggs AND spices. )
In this season of “everybody looks happy on tv” (it’s fantasy) and “everybody has tons of fun festivities to attend” (who has time for all those parties? Fake tv people!) it can become a bit overpowering if we’re not in the same mind-set or personal situation.
So besides lowering my expectations and surrendering to the holidays, here are a few things we can all do to make the holidays easier to cope with, besides chugging hot buttered rum.
Do one fun thing for yourself each day. Take time to blink. Or breathe. Give yourself a foot rub with lotion or Crisco – whatever works for ya. Watch a favorite movie. Smell a holiday tree. Sniff cloves or cinnamon – sniff not snort, safety first here. Cuddle with a pet or person – either/or need to give their permission first. Wear those comfy raggedy lounge clothes at home while watching football. (Just because my 300-year-old sweatshirt has blue paint on it does not mean it’s worn out.)
Do one nice thing for someone else each day. Smile at people; a nice smile not a vampire on steroids scary smile. Comb your cat or dog or parakeet, if they’re okay with it. Open a door for a fellow human. Give someone a compliment. Donate some canned food to the food bank if you’re able. Take your friend, pet, spouse or kidlet for a nice long winter walk. Send someone a snail mail card for the fun of it.
One of the driver training videos by our Sheriff’s Department talks about how you will drive where your eyes look; so if you focus on the holiday crazies that’s where your brain is going to go too. Try evasive maneuvers if you start to get the holiday blues. For me this is a time to cuddle up at home, write, read and bake in the warm comfort of my toasty house and comfy LaZBoy. Especially since our Oregon weather temperatures are rising again; I am SO SORRY for the rest of the country on Arctic Cold Outbreakageddon- the sequel.
Feel free to bake cookies or cupcakes or pie crusts. Go online and listen to my current fave radio station www.island985.com on iheartradio for some Hawaiian reggae music. Or eat baked goods – just not ALL of them. The holiday season is still young – pace yourselves!
Got any holiday coping tips?