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Enjoy your holidays, reduce the hassle

Written by Easter Becker-Smith. Posted in Uncategorized

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Published on November 23, 2010 with No Comments

By Easter Baker-Smith

It is beginning to look and feel a lot like the holidays. Our early morning arousals are greeted by darkness and our afternoons turn into night by 4:30. Our heavier coats and gloves are part of our daily attire as we head out the door. Snow flurries are swirling around, just another reminder of the holiday’s quick approach.
I was at a Chamber of Commerce meeting the beginning of October and someone reminded us all, “Christmas is just 12 weeks away!” There was a chorus of, “ugh” that sounded like everyone had just received a quick punch in the gut.
We usually enjoy the holidays once they get here, it is all the preparation that most people dread. So many people feel like a snowflake whirling in the wind, spinning in constant motion. We can feel overwhelmed with shopping, cooking, decorating, visiting relatives and holiday parties. We start feeling like Scrooge and wish that the Grinch really would come along and take the whole thing away.
Remember when we read stories about the pioneer days when mothers made one gift for their children and stockings included an apple or an orange? The world has greatly expanded; we have expanded the complexity of the holidays as well.
I am not suggesting we revert to pioneer times. Stopping to compare the modern day times with the old; however, gives us pause to reflect on what is important to us. Many families have cut back on gift giving due to the economic stresses. Many families found that more time was spent playing games or just being together, and that fewer presents was not as painful a sacrifice as anticipated.
Shopping and gift giving is just part of the holiday bustle. Think about your past holidays. What brought you the most joy that you want to do again? What felt like a hassle and a burden that you would rather not do? Busy times are times to priorities and make changes.
Do you have a long holiday to do list because you feel like you should do it all, even though you do not want to? Rethink what is most important to do that gives you and your family the most joy. Talk to your family about what you could eliminate, that no one would truly miss.
Do you send Christmas cards and dread the prep work? You could cut back on your mailing list. Do you have your list on your computer, so you can easily print out self stick address labels? You could address the cards one day, stamp another day, and stuff and seal another day, so the task does not consume an entire day off, or keep you up late at night. Or you could decide to skip the holiday card mailings entirely this year.
Do you spend hours baking and cooking? If it is a real pleasure, keep enjoying doing it. If your feet hurt, and your back hurts and you complain about all you did, then do not do so much. When January comes around will you regret eating all those cookies and candies you made? If so, then do not bake so much.
I remember my mother-in-law would make mounds of delicious chocolate and mail it to us, since we would not see each other during the holidays. We loved her intention, loved her goodies, but did not love all the calories. We told her how much we appreciated all that she was sending, but asked her to please just send us those wonderful bourbon balls that were our favorite.
Our honesty relieved mom of being on her feet for hours in the kitchen. She told us that it was getting physically harder on her and that she was happy to send us less. The following year, she sent us only her delicious bourbon balls and took more time to sit and do her crafts.
If there is something that you do during the holidays, that you do not enjoy, ask yourself is it really necessary to continue? Let go of your holiday “should do” traditions and continue with your, “want to do” traditions. Holidays are about joy and sharing, not drudgery and dread. Make time to enjoy the holidays.

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About Easter Becker-Smith

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Easter Becker-Smith provides coaching for individuals, groups and corporate teams.  She coaches individuals to help them discover their own path to balance and fulfillment in their lives.  She brings her years of experience in business as a highly regarded leader to help companies improve their productivity and efficiency by learning how to better communicate with each other.  Visit her website at www.coacheaster.com.

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