Let’s Talk with Karla Brandenburg
Juggling Holiday Busyness
by Karla Brandenburg
The most wonderful time of the year. That’s what the song says, but if you’re like me, the number of command performance increases. Visits to family. Family visiting you. Office parties. Shopping for gifts. Baking of goodies. Christmas cards (does anyone do Christmas cards anymore?) All, in and of themselves, fun things to do, but when it turns into an everyday thing for an entire month, added to normal everyday life activities, it can be overwhelming!
There are some years I have been able to plan things out to avoid stress, and there are years that seems impossible. Holidays can’t always be managed with a daytimer or a phone calendar or whatever you might use, but here are some ideas that might help.
• If you like to bake, plan ahead. Cookies freeze, as do a lot of other desserts that are popular this time of year. And if you don’t want to freeze them and you still don’t have time, cheat. Go to the store (or a bakery!) and buy your treats!
• Buying presents? We live in a wonderful age of digital magic. I don’t think I’ve done Christmas shopping in a brick and mortar store for years, at least not the bulk of it. Yes, I still go for specialty items, or things I want to see and touch, but if you don’t have the time, virtual shopping is a time saver.
• Christmas cards? Make a phone call instead, even if it isn’t until January. Or send Happy New Year cards instead.
• The family visits? Well, there’s no way around that. Me? I’m very fortunate to have most of my family close by, which means we can visit almost any time we want, so when the holidays approach, as much as I love them and want to spend time with them, if I’ve just seen them and I have a conflict, the conflict is likely to win out. After all, I’ve just seen the fam.
We can’t always do everything and choices aren’t always easy. Do what’s most important to you, but be sensitive to those relatives you don’t see on a regular basis and who love you. If you don’t have time to see them over the holidays, make a date to see them when all the mayhem is over. “Sorry, Aunt Phyllis, I’m booked that weekend but I’d really love to see you. How about if I stop over on January 10?” Spread out the cheer, the love. January can be a lonely time, and extending the season can make a big difference to some people.
Do you have something that relieves your stress? A favorite carol, a favorite holiday movie, baking cookies? Maybe just sitting beside a lighted tree in a dark room.
Wishing you the peace and joy of the season.
Watch for Karla’s new book, Epitaph, available January 10.
… And, while you’re here, be sure to click over to our December contest page. We have a $25 Gift Card available to one lucky winner. Enter Contest Here.
Posted in Let's Talk, with Karla Brandenburg, zed: Former Authors • Tags: BLB Discussion, Karla Brandenburg, Let's Talk, Tips for Avoiding Stress at the Holidays | 8 Comments
8 thoughts on “Let’s Talk with Karla Brandenburg”
We’ve cut so far back there’s very little stress. What “stress” I get is from seeing how stressed out everyone else gets.
We’ve cut gift exchanges to immediate family only, so only 5 people to buy gifts for. I don’t “work” in the ‘go to the office’ sense, so no office parties, no goodies to bring (or eat, so fewer holiday pounds!). I stopped sending cards years ago. In fact, for us, Christmas is nothing more than December 25th, although this year Hanukkah starts on Christmas Eve, so our celebrations will coincide. Wonder if we’ll have latkes instead of Chinese food this year!
Another point – some people are grateful when responsibilities decrease and those stressors disappear. For others, a Trace Adkins song comes to mind (You’re Going to Miss This). Enjoy what you can!
I used to stress over getting the house decorated. Then I decided to wrap last year’s decorated tree in sheets and save it for this year. On Black Friday, we brought it out, unwrapped it, and VOILA, instant decorations. I’ll be doing this again!
Awesome idea, Maggie! I do that with my outside decorations, although they still seem to need attention.
We celebrate Yule and Christmas around here, so starting on December 21st, things get busy! But at the heart of the celebrations and laughter is a sense of gratitude, so I get outside by myself at some point in the festivities and be silent and still. Just me and the sky and the earth.
Sounds very peaceful. I know you’re in the South, but I could see that here with a light snowfall for mood….
I buy gifts year round so only have to figure out what I’ll give to whom for the holidays. Travel gives me the opportunity to buy unusual items.
I try to do that too. The trick is remembering that you have them!