How to survive the holiday madness

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HOW are you coping with the holiday season preparations? Are you loving every second of it or are you scurrying through each day wishing for it all to be over?

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If you’re caught in your plans to spend the next couple of weeks shopping for gifts that you can’t decide to buy because you really can’t afford them, standing in long lines to pay, trying to keep your sanity with the daily household chores while juggling your job deadlines, fitting in too many holiday parties on top of wrapping and decorating your home, let us give you some tips so you’ll be able to have a very Merry Christmas!

Here are some holiday survival tactics that we gathered from the Internet, other readings and experiences that will help you handle the holiday madness.

Make sure that your family comes first on your list
There are times when we can’t recognize it, but we are giving in to too much stress that comes from trying to fulfill obligations to others. Stop and remember, it’s your right to put first your health and comfort and those of your spouse and children, and to not accept other responsibilities.

Delegate details to others
Remember Santa’s elves? They are there to help him pull off Christmas. Now it’s time to teach your children the value of responsibility. Think of ways on how can they help you with errands and preparations. Of course, you have to share the burden with your husband. After all, marriage is also partnership.

Be bold in modifying traditions
It’s a family tradition to visit two (or more) houses on Christmas Day (your parents’ house and your husband’s) to greet and exchange gifts. Why not schedule the visit ahead and spend Christmas Day with just your own family this year? Discuss it with your husband and commit to start a new tradition.

Make everything simple
We put too much burden on ourselves in celebrating the holiday season. Try to evaluate if all these activities really make your holiday season really joyful or you’re just satisfying expectations. If you find these activities meaningful and enjoyable, then go for it but if they add stress, eliminate them.

Demonstrate the real spirit of Christmas
Children learn by watching. If you tell them that materials things are not that important but never demonstrate being generous to the poor, this lesson will never sink in. Try to show them the other side of life by taking them to the poor and the neglected. Encourage them to share by helping them, for example, arrange a book drive for disadvantaged kids or sing carols at a retirement home.

Gift yourself
While shopping for your loved ones, try buying also for yourself and put them in a Christmas box to be opened during Christmas Day. I’m sure you’ll be delighted to see that all you need was granted this time.

Limit your gift-giving
If it’s a tradition with you to give gifts to almost everybody in your office every holiday season, make sure you’re enjoying it but it’s already a burden, specially the cost, modify your list and create a group gift instead like food and wine that can be shared by a group.

Stop and enjoy the season
With all the stress in preparing for this season, stop for awhile and enjoy every activity you plan to do with your officemates, friends, family and relatives. This is easier said than done but it can be less difficult by setting realistic expectations. Remember, Christmas is about building and mending relationships, the real reason for the season.

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