If all of the months in the year were assigned high-school stereotypes, December would be the Homecoming Queen. This oh-so popular month is full of cheer (sometimes to the point of driving us crazy), is always ready for a party, and even comes with its own pregnancy scandal (immaculate conception? Mary was a genius;)). Let’s face it, the other months just can’t compete.
As you all kick-off this month, here are 10 ways to make December your BFF and not your frenemy.
- Get your shopping done early- As you will probably come to find out, I’m something of a professional when it comes to procrastination. I won’t pretend that I haven’t done my fair share of last-minute Christmas shopping, but it always ends with me trying not to lose it as I navigate my way through the hoards of crazy mall-goers, and convincing myself that my the board-game my dad will probably never play is a great gift idea. This year, I’m keeping myself sane by taking the shopping list bit-by-bit and taking advantage of the convenience of online shopping. Because I live in Boston, but my family is in Colorado, I take advantage of site’s like Amazon and Old Navy, who often offer free shipping around the holidays.
- Have a cookie swap- This is a great way to maximize the variety on that cookie tray, and minimize the amount of baking you have to do. Plus, it’s a good excuse to get together with friends.
- See the lights-One of my favorite Christmas traditions. Pack a thermos of hot cocoa, get bundled up, and travel around to see the christmas lights in your neighborhood. Check your local paper, they usually print which houses you shouldn’t miss!
- Tie up loose ends at your job– I don’t know about you, but at my job, the end of the year means winding down with all of the projects, and preparing for the year to come. Take some time to think about the work you’ve got for the month, what needs to be taken care of before you take that well deserved Christmas vacation, and what can wait until after the new year.
- Don’t forget the gift receipts– As much as we like to think that everyone loves everything we’ve ever bought them, it’s inevitable that someone we bought for will be less than pleased. It’s tempting to be offended when someone doesn’t like the gift you bought for them, but wouldn’t you rather they exchange it for something they would really enjoy instead of burying it under a pile unused stuff in the back of the closet? Gift receipts make it easy for a person to return a gift without feeling awkward about not liking the gift.
- Let go of an old grudge– While being angry with someone can sometimes be an effective vehicle for releasing our feelings, it can also bring out the worst in us. Take some time this month to evaluate whether that fight you’re holding onto is really worth the time and energy you are giving it. CAUTION: You may have to be the bigger person in this situation.
- Think about your goals for the coming year, and keep them to yourself-I read somewhere once that the more someone talks about their New Year’s Resolution, the less likely they are to actually accomplish it. Give yourself achievable goals for the next year, and think about steps you need to take to accomplish them. If you’re going to tell people about it, stick to a few close friends or family members who will provide support.
- Balance old and new traditions- My family is all about the holiday traditions. So much so that when my mother decided to try a new recipe for French Toast on Christmas morning, I thought my brother was going to have a coronary. Old traditions are things to be held onto, but there is always room to start new traditions of your own.
- Decorate on the cheap-Every time I walk into Target, I am tempted to buy every holiday decoration in sight. Making your house or apartment festive for the Holidays is fun, but can also be expensive. Dollar Stores often have decorations for cheap, or, if you want to get crafty(who doesn’t?!) you can make some decorations of your own. Visit Martha Stewart’s holiday crafts page for ideas and DIY tutorials.
- TRY not to stress-I think it’s a bit hypocritical for me to give this advice, since I stress about everything. Whether you’re trying execute the perfect Christmas Dinner, or stretching your budget to get make sure everyone on your gift list is happy, this busy month can stress out even the calmest of people(cough cough…Chantelle). I won’t say don’t stress, because I never follow that advice. I will say try your best to remember that this month especially is about being with loved ones. And besides, if you screw something up royally, it will just be a story to laugh about for years to come.
That’s enough advice for one day. Happy December everyone!
Until next time,