There are only 7 days until Christmas!!!!!!! That means that this time next week we will all be sitting around the Christmas tree with our families enjoying the best holiday of the year. If this thought relaxes you and makes you really happy, well then you’re probably as obsessed with Christmas as I am. But if that though stresses you out and makes you think of all the stuff you have to do in the next week, then keep reading for some advice on how to make this the best Christmas ever!
1. Still have to get gifts for people? Don’t know what to get them/can’t afford anything? I have a simple solution for that! For the past few years, I have been getting close friends/family “experience gifts”. These aren’t physical gifts per se – instead of giving them something random that they might not want or use, I think about something they love to do/a place they want to go/a new hobby they might want to try and I create and experience gift based on that. The first time I did this was Mother’s Day a few years ago. I took my mom down to Washington, DC and we spent the day going to free museums and exploring the city. All I had to pay for was parking, gas, and food, and I got to pick a day a bit later than Mother’s Day to give myself time to save up. Even so, my mom LOVED this gift! She still talks about it years later! After seeing how successful that was, I realized that what my parents really want from me is more time spent with them. So I’ve made this a staple of gift giving in my house! In recent years I have gotten my parents Flyers tickets so we could all go to a game together, and last year I rented out a super cheap cabin up at World’s End State Park so that we could spend a winter weekend with them. Last year I also tried this with the In-Laws and it worked out great too – we took Andrew’s mom on a ghost hunting tour and took his niece to a wolf sanctuary!
2. Are you worried about eating too many cookies? Well, you should be because on Monday I helped host a work fundraiser where tons of cookies were present, and I ate WAY TOO MANY. I’m still trying to recover from it! So here’s my cookie survival tips: Stay away from the cookie table, only allow yourself to try one of each item, and if you’re forced to take home leftovers just re-gift them to your office so they’re not in your house. And if you eat too much, just make sure to squeeze in an extra mile on the treadmill to make yourself feel better.
3. Running out of time to get everything done? Focus on what really matters, and cut out what doesn’t. I have about 5 different things I was asked to do on Friday night (oh yay, a work happy hour in center city where I can’t find parking and can’t drink because I have to drive home, sounds fun) and someone is going to be disappointed because I can’t go to everything. What matters most to you on the Friday before Christmas? Listen to your heart and go with that choice. You’ll feel much more calm once you choose to focus on the things that really matter to you and not all the craziness of the season.
4. If you’re struggling to get in the Christmas spirit, maybe it’s time to make new traditions or start doing traditions from your childhood! Yesterday I went to Longwood Gardens with my husband, his friend, and his friend’s wife. Yes it was freezing and the roads were terrible but we had a blast! We try to go there every year for Christmas and it just puts me in the Christmas spirit. Every year we try to make new traditions – some of them work (driving around on Christmas eve looking at the best Christmas lights) and some don’t (driving up to Washington Crossing to watch the reenactment of Washington crossing the Delaware River at 1:00pm on Christmas day – just way too cold and too much of a hassle to get there). Look up local blogs for tips on things to do at Christmas in your city and try some new things! If you live in Philly, go here for a list of sweet Christmas lights to see in the city (I’m going to a few of them tonight!).
5. Remember that Christmas is a time for family, friends, and happiness. So bake some peppermint cookies, blast that Christmas music in your car, and kiss under that mistletoe – you only get to do it once a year!
How do you keep calm at Christmas? What are your favorite Christmas traditions? AND WHO ELSE IS SUPER EXCITED THAT CHRISTMAS IS A WEEK AWAY?!?!!?!