3 weeks away?
What with the shopping, decorating, writing Christmas cards and partying, it’s no wonder that by the time Christmas arrives we're worn out! So, here’s a few tips to help you avoid being stressed out during the holiday season:
- Stop Buying Gifts – When I retired 4 years ago I told all my nieces and nephews that the Bank of Aunt Rosie was closed and that there would be no more Christmas gifts from me. They didn’t like it, but since I live on a fixed income, I’d rather give what I feel I can afford for gifts to a person or a charity that really needs it. With money being so tight this year for everyone, I even talked to a few retired friends about skipping the Christmas gift exchange and they were all for it . But, if cutting off your family and friends cold turkey is just too much, then re-gift. Let's face it -- we all do it -- just try to find something that the person could actually use. Or offer something even more precious --the gift of your time – perhaps run errands for a house-bound friend or make a meal for them.
- Decide what’s really important to you - Accept your limitations and recognize that even if you’re retired, you only have so much time. List everything that you need and want to do for the holidays and then pick the 5 activities that mean the most to you. This year I decided that I didn’t want to spend time decorating my home as I’m going to St. Louis for 2 weeks. But I love to stay in touch with my family and friends, so I’m sending out over 100 cards.
- Avoid negative people - While that’s more difficult to do at a family Christmas party, just say “Hello” and then immediately move on to another family member or sit in another part of the house. Remember that it takes 2 to argue, so just refuse to engage with the argumentative person. Or if you feel that the Christmas Day party will be unbearable, then visit those family members you like either on Christmas Eve or the day after the holiday. I know how bad it can get as I come from a large family and our holiday parties always have at least 25 to 30 people there. It got to the point that there would be at least one argument at every party, so my sister had a great idea to keep the conversations moving in a more positive manner by asking each person to describe their favorite childhood memories of Christmas.
No matter how you decide to spend your time and money during the Holiday Season, just make sure it’s doing what you really want and that alone will keep your stress down.