Holiday stress and drama-who needs it?

Good evening everyone!  Let the holiday stress and drama begin!

Gotta rush out and shop shop shop until you drop.  At my in-laws for Thanksgiving, before desert was served, the laptops were opened and armed! Ready, set, GO! I am sure this was a very common sight.  And thus the season of “giving” begins.

What’s on your shopping list? Too much, so much, too little time, can’t buy it all, can’t carry it all, need to  find a place to hide the presents, not enough room in the pantry and refrigerator to store all the holiday food, sold out items, crashed web sites, stolen packages from the front step, carpal tunnel…..arggggg.

Frantic phone calls from adult children who tell you their plans for their holiday and want you to accommodate them, individually. For example, you have to eat at 8 a.m. because daughter/son-in-law need to be somewhere else by noon yet the other daughter/son-in-law asked to eat a 6 p.m. because they are eating at her/his twice removed cousin’s house at noon.   Or since you don’t allow your grandchildren’s step-dad’s drug dealing son in your house, no visits from your daughter this year. Wheeee. Insert your own family’s drama here_____________________________.

Time out!  Bewildered, stunned, exhausted, cranky….credit cards maxed out. “How do I slow down”?, you ask yourself.  “I can’t.” is the perpetual answer.  You are thinking that you don’t have the time to slow down. Your family is counting on you to DO IT ALL. Because that is what you do. You have appointed yourself “Guardian and Super Hero of it all!” Without you, it wouldn’t get done. Your family would be so sad, disappointed, and hungry if you didn’t do it.

You thrive on the stress and drama.  All that surging adrenaline is better than caffeine.  And then you crash! Hard! What happened??

Are you ready for a stress and drama free holiday in 2017?  Sure your are!!  It’s not too late.

Suggestions:

  • Ask family members to bring their favorite dish as well as snacks.   Heard this suggestion before? Ok, but how about letting them chose the dish. They will be happier when they make it. So what if there are two green bean casseroles. Yummy. What happens if  they chose to not bring something? OK, just let it go. No pie? Well, perhaps next year someone will think to bring one.   And that’s OK.  Got it?  It’s OK. Why should you be the one stuck in the kitchen the whole time??  Time to stop wearing the super hero cape.  “But you always make everything.”  Not this year.  This year, you are going to put your feet up and watch the Hallmark Christmas movies. Good for you. Smile.
  • Cookie exchange madness? Do you really want to make 12 dozen cookies this year? So you said “yes” this year and are now spending  time complaining about it.  Your family is tired of hearing about it and they really haven’t liked some of the cookies you got  with the previous exchanges…and really? Someone cheated and exchanged store bought private label??  This year, I actually said “NO”. And the pressure was on….and I stood firm.  Next year? They may ask again…and I may say “Yes”, who knows. What’s on your plate next year?? How about “NO” and then spend your time baking that cranberry bread that your family really likes.
  • Pare down your gift list to a few items only. Really. They will live. Trust me. They may hate you for the first few years, but hey, that’s OK. Smile. Take your list and  tear it in half. Wow.  Wasn’t that liberating? No? Get used to it.  The extra time and money will more than make up for your anxiety.  Or at least pay for your therapy.  And enjoy your shopping experiences-have lunch, take your time, go early for parking, take your time….stop and smell the holiday smells. You are allowed to do this! And your bank balance will thank you.  “What’s in your wallet?” Wait, money!
  • Drama filled family members? Adult children who act like they are 12?  True stories:  Screaming at you because you are not making their favorite dressing? Mad because you don’t stock Fiji water?  Are they angry over your new “NO PETS” policy because last year their dog chewed up the carpet and pooped on the floor and “isn’t that cute when our new puppy pulls down the tree.”? or “Who left the door open and who let the dogs out?” (wink wink) Tired of  their kids running amok and yelling or  whining because you don’t have a Play Station or Netflix to entertain them?  New rule:  respect my authority. And smile. No more “But they won’t like me if I tell them to behave.” Yes,  they will argue with you…and gripe about how mean you are….and that’s OK.   And it’s  your house! And your new rules. Resistance is futile.
  • Adult children asking for loans to buy holiday gifts? Nope, nada, no way. Unless you have a written contract. “Oh, but they will hate me if I ask them for the money back or to sign a contract.” OK. Then don’t complain when they take advantage of you.  And they will….even my own grandmother made us sign a contract when we borrowed money for a down payment for our house, but then again, she was an attorney. Loan money only if you can afford to give it away. And then don’t complain.
  •  Assign  tasks to everyone. Set a deadline and spell out exactly what needs to be done.  Put it in writing, text is fine.  Trust me, they will find the loopholes.  They will hate you but that’s OK. They may moan about it. It may get done or it may not and that’s OK .  The “undone” chores will surely be evident and may even inconvenience your family and guests. No problem.  Let it go. Life isn’t perfect and your house doesn’t have to be either. Oh the horror if stockings aren’t hung by the chimney with care.  After all, unless you are single and live alone, you are used to being disappointed so what else is new, lol.  Smile. And don’t forget to point out the offender(s) when someone asks why the stockings aren’t  hung by the chimney this year….hahaha.
  • Un-invite family and friends who cause dissent in your home. It’s OK, trust me. They will be confused and surprised. They will hate you and talk behind your back to other family members as well as to their friends and post it on Facebook.  The “unfriend” button works well.  In fact, I pulled the trigger this year on a very close family member. Why be miserable? Life is too short. There are two sides to every story.  And some people really should be on meds.   However, be kind when you let them know that you are having a “smaller gathering”. Don’t start the fight.  15 years ago, I bought a TY Badger. I have a brother and a sister.   During one Christmas visit with our parents, while we were all trying to enjoy dinner, my brother started in with his stupid brother anger and BAM, I gave him the Badger and asked him to stop. So, the Badger is a method to draw attention to the drama and stupidity. It is a humorous method to diffuse the tension. Works every time! “You’ve been Badgered!”
  • Learn to say “NO”.  Practice in front of a mirror.  The mouth muscles develop muscle memory so it won’t be difficult for you to form the word when under pressure.  And smile.
  • Any other ideas that come to your mind. Love yourself.  Stress causes dis-ease. Be at ease. It’s easy. Trust me. And you know you need a massage.

This year’s holiday season? For us more “mature” readers, 1979 TV ad, Smith Barney “They make money the old fashioned way, they earn it!” Well, make this season free of stress and drama “the old fashioned way, you earn it!” Priceless!

Happy Holidays to you!  Namaste!

 

 

 

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