I wanted to write something about overcoming stress for the holidays, but when I searched the topic, there is so much out there already. So here is the Jan Jones' & Maxine's style of "Shaking Up Stress, Shaking Up the Holidays".
As far as stress goes ... just don't have it!
If the holidays don't make you happy the way you and your family have been celebrating them for years ... you know, the kind where everyone has a great time and you do all the work ... Quit.
Declare that this year, things will be different! To start: Figure out exactly what is making you unhappy ... then change that thing!
Everybody always comes to your house where you have to do all the clean up before and after?
1. Pick your victim and tell him or her that the family will be coming to their house for the holidays, so start cleaning up now! Could be the eldest son, a sister, whoever. Just not where you have to do all the work! Or ...
2. Find a restaurant open on the holiday and make reservations. Then tell the family that Mom has decided we are going out.
Tired of doing all the cooking?
1. This year, dear family, we've decided to BBQ for the holidays. Dad will be grilling so bring what your family wants to eat! Or ...
2. It's pot luck this year, I'm not cooking a darn thing. Tell them in an email and ask them to sign up for what they want to bring, including desert!
Not sure who is coming until the last moment?
1. Send a formal invitation to the kids or whoever you are not sure about with a RSVP card.
2. If they don't respond by the cut off date, make plans to do whatever YOU want to do!
If they show up at the last moment, they can join you there.
Sick and tired of the same old thing and place?
1. Who says you always have to do the same thing every year? Always wanted to spend Thanksgiving in the mountains? Christmas in the snow? Close your eyes and think of somewhere you have always wanted to spend the holidays and make reservations.
2. Then tell everyone where you will be. Give them the reservation number, and invite them to join you if they want. You'll have the cocoa in the mugs and the warm fires burning,
Tired of doing all that shopping for presents?
1. Everyone has everything they need anyway, so go buy something for yourself! Or ...
2. Draw names. That way everyone gets one
nicer present. Or ...
3. For laughs, make it a gag gifts only! Great for laughs!
Don't mind the traditional family gatherings, but they have become a little boring?
1. Shake it up. New dress code is Ugly Sweaters with a prize for the best. Maybe Grandad picks the winner. Or ...
2. Everyone dresses for their favorite football team and enjoys the game! Or you could ...
3. Take the tables and chairs outside and have dinner on the grounds! Even more fun if you have to wear coats and cover in a throw!
Family uses this time to complain about everything and fight with each other?
1. Declare a war free zone. No Complaints. No Digs at each other. Anyone who breaks the rule has to pay a price. You figure that one out!
2. It's a happy day. Everyone must be happy. If you have to, turn them over your knee like you did when they were a kid!
Family out of town, not as many guests anymore?
1. Ask friends to join in the fun. Make them honorary family members for the day! Or ...
2. Volunteer at the local homeless shelter, take your friends with you, and help others. Or ...
3. Bring home a shelter pet or two for the day. How fun would that be! And how special it would be for them.
My friend, Skip Young, who was Wally Plumstead on the Ozzie & Harriet Show, hosted dinners in California on Thanksgiving and Christmas for 'those who didn't want to be alone'. It was wonderful.
In the world we live in today, family traditions are so important, but it gets harder and harder to hold them all together with members often spread across the country. Instead of stressing, find a way to make everything more fun for all and easier for you! You will be much happier if you do. It's good to laugh!
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