Filed under Opinion

Holiday mad dash

Holiday mad dash

The holidays can be a stressful time. You’ve got to find the right present for everyone on your list, the money to buy those presents, and time to visit everyone who you’ve bought gifts for.

Time is my biggest issue every year. Many people these days don’t belong to a traditional family. There are stepfamilies, extended families, and in-laws, just to name of few variations, and even friends whom you might call family.

Even though many companies acknowledge the holidays by giving their employees both Christmas Eve and Christmas day off, there are some companies that don’t close their doors for any reason and many families celebrate other holidays instead of Christmas like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

My family celebrates Christmas, but my husband and I both work at a hospital. We don’t always get both days off for the holiday or even the same day off. In addition to working, we also have several different family and friend functions to squeeze into about 48 hours. One year, we had 12 events we were obligated to attend.

While all these factors can cause the holidays to seem like a timed game show contest, there are some things you can do to ease of the stress caused by multiple obligations.

The dates aren’t what are important. Family, friends, and creating memories are. Don’t worry about making sure you see everyone ON Dec. 25.

The holiday season lasts about two months. If stores can start celebrating and decorating the day after Halloween, why can’t families? My mom’s side of the family has their Christmas gathering on New Year’s Day, but maybe the weekend before Christmas would be better for your family.

In order to remove focus from the actual dates, some traditions may have to be changed or gotten rid of all together. Most families have traditions surrounding the holidays and many people are resistant to change.

However, as hard as it may be, changing traditions can lead to new, maybe even better, ones. For example, when I was younger, my mom and I spent Christmas Eve with my great grandparents, helping them prepare for the big gathering on Christmas day. When they passed away, that tradition was no longer, but my mom and I started making time for each other on Christmas Eve, focusing on our small inner circle.

Your inner circle is very important. Getting caught up trying to please everyone competing for your time, it can be easy to neglect the people who are the closest to you. Make sure you take a little time out of your hectic schedule and do something special with them.

And last but not least, avoid the guilt trips. Remember, you are only one person. You can’t be everywhere at once.

Even though some of these suggestions will require collaboration with other family members, advanced planning and understanding can create a less stressful and happy holiday season for all.

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