The holidays, with joyful celebrations and family traditions, bring a flurry of activity. There is so much to do, from wrapping gifts, attending parties, baking goodies and preparing the holiday meal, it’s easy to get swept away in the frenzy. Sadly, before you know it, the festivities are over and you missed the moments that make the season magical. Take some time to relish each day with these holiday etiquette ideas:
- Pick a tradition…just one. Instead of attempting to tackle multiple DIY Pinterest projects for the sake of forcing family fun, decide on one that seems low-fuss and everyone will enjoy. While it’s a lofty goal to create your own advent calendar, your long list of making origami ornaments, handmade garland and a no-sew tree skirt can actually put a strain on family time, defeating the original purpose.
- Simplify the main meal. Give yourself permission to pare down your holiday menu, choosing your tried and true recipes over the dazzling hors d’oeuvres you bookmarked from Food & Wine magazine. The kids will enjoy icing sugar cookies just as much as they would decking out a Victorian gingerbread house. Your grandmother’s old fashion hermit cookies are just as delicious as the recipe that requires 3 people and multiple hours of work.
- Go on a mini vacation … in your own guest room. You have set it up beautifully for your holiday guests, why don’t you take a weekend retreat to your own guest room sanctuary? This will allow you to “feel” what your guests experience when they come to visit. For guest room ideas, refer to my previous post, grab a cup of tea and a good book and relax.
- Say no to excessive celebrations. Determine how many functions you are comfortable attending and RSVP (see my recent post on how to RSVP politely) “no thank you” to the rest. Instead, put on your pj’s in the middle of the afternoon, gather the kids around and watch a succession of holiday movies. Order pizza for dinner and play a board game. It goes without saying, turn off your cell phone and enjoy the solitude of a tech-free afternoon and evening.
- Wrap your gifts slowly. You may have thought you were ahead of schedule until now, when you are now feeling the pressure to send out the rest of the cards, bake the treats for the teachers and neighborhood goodie baskets, and wrap the remaining gifts for the tree. Begin to work your way through the pile by wrapping a few gifts each night. The task will seem less daunting when you wrap, bag, and add a tie or ribbon on a few presents each day. You still have plenty of time to get all your presents ready for your family in time for Christmas Eve.
- Do something you have always wanted to do. Make the time to carol with friends, go ice skating for the first time, or volunteer at a local nursing home, reading books to the elderly. Rather than thinking about what you want to do someday, do it now, during a season of giving. You will be making a memory that will perhaps turn into a holiday tradition.