‘Tis the Season to Slow Down

holidaysmile.jpgby David Bohl

When Halloween candy hits the shelves before Labor Day and animatronic Santas are ho-ho-ho-ing at you before you’ve even had a chance to carve your Thanksgiving turkey, it’s hard not to feel rushed through the holiday season. However, difficult as it may be to pause and reflect on the meaning of the holidays, it is certainly beneficial.

If you feel like the time between Halloween and Christmas is nothing more than a blur before your eyes, try a few of these tips to slow down and enjoy your holidays this year.

Edit Out the Non-Essentials

So many holiday traditions and customs nowadays are done more so out of a feeling of obligation than a meaningful sentiment. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with the amount of items you must complete in time for the holidays, it may be time to step back and ask yourself what is truly significant and what is simply holiday fluff. If you and your family don’t genuinely enjoy the two hours spent watching It’s a Wonderful Life, why bother watching it only out of tradition? Why not use that time to do something more productive and, hopefully, more enjoyable? Look at your holiday plans with a critical eye and try to eliminate anything that isn’t meaningful or necessary. Editing a few items from your to-do list will allow you to legitimately enjoy the items you do choose to include.

Share the Responsibilities

Unfortunately, holiday meals don’t prepare themselves, presents don’t come pre-wrapped, and the angel doesn’t climb to the top of the tree on its own. It takes a lot of time and effort behind the scenes to end up with the “ideal” holiday festivities. Attempting to do all of this work on your own can be stressful to say the least and maybe even impossible. This year, instead of running around like a gingerbread man with his head cut off, dole out some of the responsibilities to others. Take advantage of the free gift-wrapping service at department stores. Try hosting a potluck dinner instead of cooking everything on your own. Sharing the holiday responsibilities will allow you to avoid rushing through the season with the sole purpose of checking things off of your to-do list.

Take a “Staycation”

“Staycations,” or vacations where you stay at home, have become popular in the past few years due to the rising costs of travel. Not only will a staycation save you money, but it will allow you the time to spend on your holiday obligations and find time for some holiday fun, as well. Balancing work and personal time around the holidays can be especially difficult because you may feel pressured to earn extra money to make up for the additional expenses at this time of year. Still, you may want to analyze whether it would be more reasonable to cut back on a few expenditures and limit your hours in the workplace simultaneously. Holidays are a time to be spent with family and friends, not to feel bogged down with duties and deadlines. A staycation may be just what you need to allow yourself time to relax and savor the holiday moments.

This winter, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa, don’t forget to slow down and enjoy the celebration. Rushing through the holidays will only leave you going through the motions without having time to truly take pleasure in all of the festivities. To avoid having the holidays breeze by faster than a speeding bullet, try editing your to-do list, sharing some of your responsibilities, and taking a stay-at-home vacation if you can. Surely you won’t regret it.

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