Seven Suggestions for a Happier Holiday Season

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The holidays can be exhausting, stressful, and a serious drain on your wallet, but they don’t have to be! These seven suggestions will help you have a more relaxed, mindful, and budget-friendly month of December:

1. Plan Ahead

Grab you calendar and map out your month, if you haven’t already.  Make sure to block out time for the things you must do, the things you want to do, and for some sleep!  Overbooking yourself and/or running around like a headless chicken is a sure-fire way to obliterate the fun and festivity associated with the holidays.

2. Delegate

If you’re like me you may be reluctant to ask for help, but I encourage you to work past that.  Divide the holiday-related tasks among the able members of your household.  What fun will the holidays be if you’re too exhausted to enjoy them?

3. Make your Lists & Check Them Twice

Really examine the lists you’re making. Are you sending holiday cards to people out of precedent and habit, though your relationship has run its course?  Consider shaving a few people off your card and gift list if you realize the ties that bind have loosened over the years.  You’ll save both time and money.

4. Simplify & Scale Back a Bit

Speaking of time and money, put some additional thought into how you plan to spend your time and money this month.  For example, are you going to exhaust yourself making six different types of cookies when three would be more than enough? Will you acquire debt and spend more on gifts than you can afford, instead of coming up with something simpler and more affordable?

5. Savor the Special Things That December Brings

Try to slow down and enjoy the moment without rushing on to the next thing. Easier said than done, I know, but this one is well worth it.  Savor the heady scent of the pine trees in the Christmas tree lot.  Pause and listen to the carolers in the plaza instead of just rushing past them on the way to another store, and enjoy the smiles and laughter of your family and friends as they draw near.

6. Think Green & Save Even More Green

Save money and natural resources by using newsprint, brown paper grocery bags, or other re-used materials to wrap your gifts this year.  Spruce the packages up with ribbon or twine and a nice gift tag.  Recycled wrapping materials can be earth-friendly and aesthetically appealing!  The gift shown in the photo above was wrapped with newspaper, inexpensive red curling ribbon, a re-usable bell, and a tag purchased in bulk from an office supply store.

7. Do Something to Help Brighten the Holidays of Those in Need

If you’re in a position to help those less fortunate, please do.  Whether you donate food to a food bank or spend time serving food at a soup kitchen, I believe the spirit of giving is often at its purest when we give to those we may not know personally.

Whatever holiday you may celebrate, and wherever you may live, I hope the rest of your December is happy, healthy, fun, and festive.  Please keep an eye out for my next recipe, dear readers, which will be posted on December 9th.  This recipe, should you choose to make it, will provide some quick and easy treats to share with those you hold dear…

Warm regards,
Melody

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