As we come out of turkey comas, it’s time to deck those halls and make merry. But can we take a second to be honest with ourselves? It doesn’t matter how much you love the holidays, they aren’t always easy to handle. Sometimes, the list of things you think you should do to be festive is just too darn much to handle.
So, let’s stop “should-ing” all over ourselves and give ourselves a present or two this season.
I present to you 12 ideas that cost little to nothing.
- A solo dinner date: When was the last time you took yourself out to dinner? I’m not talking anywhere fancy (although you certainly could). But get yourself out there to try that new place your partner isn’t interested in. There’s the added bonus that it’s cheaper AND it’s easy to get in almost anywhere as a single diner, no matter how hot the spot!
- Space: Too many people in your house? Lots of parties to visit? Give yourself (or the introvert in your life) the gift of space and step away when you need to. Seriously, just close the bathroom door, bring a book with you, and give yourself a half hour of peace. Unless you have a toddler. They have no boundaries. You just might have to walk around the block.
- Non-screen time: Sometime during this month, pick 2 days where you’ll take 6 hours away from your screen. That’s right. Six. Make it a family thing! Horrible with directions? Pre-plan your route or stick to the neighborhood. The amount of time we spend on our screens is flabbergasting. You know it and I know it. Give it a rest. I promise you’ll feel better at the end of that day.
- A gift list: As someone who really and truly wants to give meaningful gifts, my world changed when I actually ASKED for a list. Listen, I get that you’d love to just intuit by magic the things that people are into. But that’s just not how it works. People want to get stuff that they WANT right? So just ask. Preferably before Christmas eve. Emails and texts work juuuust fine.
- A good purge: More than likely, you’re about to get some stuff. And guess what? You already have stuff that you probably don’t want or need around anymore. Need help getting in the mood? Invite your bestie over. Pour the wine. Turn on some Marie Kondo or Queer Eye and get tossin’.
- Volunteer: Why not take that Christmas cheer and spread it around to those who have some extra needs? Now, doing this properly IS going to take some time. Volunteers, while well-meaning, take TIME to actually make useful. So, just find a few hours here and there to devote to going through the hoops and then making it happen. Then right after you complete it, set a January date in your calendar. That’s when they’ll be needing you the most. Also, it’s good for you.
- Sparkle: I do not care how grinchy you are, Christmas lights on a dark, cold night are good for your soul. You don’t have to go all Griswold yourself, though. Do some Googling for the best Christmas light neighborhoods in your city. And get ready to feel like a seven-year-old again. In a good way.
- “No”: Give yourself the gift of “no.” It’s hard to learn how to say “no,” especially when you want to do everything and help everyone. But just say that teeny little word with zero apologies or justifications. I am giving you permission to say “no” for literally any reason whatsoever. You can actually say “no” to things that you don’t FEEL like doing. Imagine that.
- A great podcast: I have said it before and I’ll say it again: Podcasts have absolutely changed my life. They are the primary source of media that I consume these days and there are SO MANY good ones out there. And for goodness sakes they’re FREE! My current faves include Food Psych by Christy Harrison. It is literally changing everything I think about my body and my relationship to food and exercise. Then there’s Esther Perel’s two podcasts. This woman is like the Michael Jordan of relationship counseling. She. Is. Incredible. The way she gets to the heart of people’s issues is second to none. She is my idol. Check out “Where should we begin?” and “How’s work?”
- Figure out your love languages: Going into the holiday season without knowing your own love languages or those around you is like driving with a blindfold on. Take the dang quiz and change your life. And for those of you who are already into this stuff, find out your APOLOGY language. Talk about a game changer!
- Find your enneagram #: While we’re on the whole quiz thing… Figuring out my enneagram number this year was a total mind-shifter for me. It’s like Meyers Briggs, but way, way more comprehensive. I actually found the various quizzes unhelpful and not very accurate. Simply reading through all 9 types will definitely give you a better sense of all the options. And while we all have a bit of every type within us, one should feel most like home.
- A handmade gift: There is very little that stokes a sense of accomplishment like actually making something with your own two hands. So, here’s the challenge. Make ONE homemade gift. Just one. Pinterest is your friend here. This does not have to be fancy. You can bake something. Or steep some herbs or fruit in oil or liquor of your choice! Easy. Peasy. Limoncello. Squeezy.
Hopefully, these 12 ideas will get you through the 12 days with a little more peace and sanity.
From our house to yours we wish you all a very happy holiday season.
PS – We’ll have two VERY exciting AOF developments to share with you NEXT YEAR!!! So don’t go anywhere. ; )