Keep the holidays happy and stress-free

Thanksgiving is over and now the fun begins. Just around the corner is Christmas and shopping, wrapping, baking, writing cards, entertaining, etc. – whew, I am tired already! Sometimes we push ourselves to the limit trying to create that perfect Currier and Ives or Dickens holiday. 

As many of you know, with age comes wisdom. At some point in time, we realize there is no such thing as the “perfect” holiday. Someone or something always seems to pop up to spoil it. So how do we avoid ruining our holidays and keeping peace in the family? Good planning and letting go of those ideas of a picture-perfect day – and, keeping things simple. 

Let your sister-in-law bring the green beans (even though you think yours are better). Buy a frozen pie if you do not have time to bake one from scratch. Try to hold on to the traditions that are really special to you – then create some new ones of your own. In the age of ultra-commercialism, we feel that we must buy, buy, buy – especially at Christmas. What do we buy for everyone? Sometimes I feel like I have spent good money and time buying something that the recipient did not like, or would never use.    

I like to receive a gift as much anyone, but at some point in your life, do you really need another sweater or scarf? I most appreciate receiving and giving a gift that is hand-made, but understand that everyone is not creative in that way. I recently read an article about what to give someone who has everything. The writer suggested that these people still have to eat, so food is often a great gift.

One year, my son made several different kinds of soup and gave everyone two containers of soup, a soup bowl and soup spoon – what a thoughtful and tasty gift, and every time I use my soup bowl, I think of him. For someone who likes to cook or bake, you can put together a basket or bag of products and utensils. 

I am a member of the Westlake Garden Club and we have learned at our fundraiser luncheons that raffle baskets with wine are the most popular. Many people I know (including myself), would love a gift of different wines, crackers, cheese and other accompaniments.

I am running out of space, so I will wrap this up by saying, try to simplify your holidays and remember why you celebrate Christmas. Also to help keep the stress level down, get some exercise, meet friends for lunch and laugh a lot, and don’t feel that you have to buy that perfect gift or adhere to any “picture-perfect” idea of the holiday. Just enjoy spending time with those people you love. 

I wish peace, love and joy to you and yours this holiday season.

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Volume 6, Issue 25, Posted 9:41 AM, 12.09.2014