Making the Most of Your Holiday Season

Posted By: Sharon Dillard AANM Newsletter, Operations,

Many of us start the holiday season with high expectations. But all too often, our dreams of a picture-perfect holiday leave us frazzled and stressed. As we race to find the perfect gifts, make the perfect meals, and open our perfect homes to our perfect family, in-laws, and friends, the holiday season floods with everything but joy.

I don’t know about you, but in my life, nothing is perfect! Someone’s gift is not quite the right size, color, or flavor. The potatoes get burnt, the roast is dry, and the house is a constant mess. But this year can be different! Here are some easy ways to turn this holiday season into one to remember.

Movie Night. Everyone has a favorite holiday movie. Why not invite a few of your friends or gather up the family and arrange a holiday movie night? Then you just need to sit back and enjoy It’s A Wonderful Life, Love Actually, or The Holiday. Or, for those more action-packed movie fans, Home Alone.

Start a Tradition. Another way to make this your best holiday ever is to start a tradition. You could invite your family or friends over for a fall football game (either watch or play), purchase an ornament, host a cookie or recipe exchange, or visit somewhere new. Here in New Mexico, we have tamale-making parties and luminaria tours. Make your holiday tradition something that’s meaningful for everyone.

Be Realistic. The holidays don’t have to be exactly the same as last year. As families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Be open to creating new ones. For example, if your older children can’t come “home,” find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails, or videos. Or think about taking turns hosting the holidays.

Shop Online. You can find pretty much everything online these days. With meal and grocery delivery services and other online stores, you can even have your Christmas tree shipped right to your door. You can even spring for gift wrapping.

Find Time for Yourself. Make sure to carve some time for yourself, your partner, or friends. Maybe it’s getting away for a couple of days to your favorite spa and resort, or an afternoon by the fire with good book. Do something that makes you happy so you don’t feel like all your energy went into planning and worrying about everyone else’s happiness.

Move. Unless you can get your 10,000 steps in at the mall, keeping your exercise routine is key to destressing the holidays. Exercise releases endorphins (the feel-good hormones) and helps work off the added calories of holiday treats. Ask a visiting family member to join you, hitch up the dog, and go. Or head to yoga with a buddy and tone up those muscles. Your body will thank you.

Learn to Say No. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Sometimes you just need an evening at home instead of another social event, dinner or party. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity.

When the roast is burnt and the potatoes dry, open another bottle of wine and laugh! Laughter is what the holidays are ultimately about. Just sayin’.