Re-sharing this letter has been a tradition since 2012. Wow! That makes this sharing the 11th annual!
Over the past several decades, I’ve learned that it takes entirely too much effort (and stress!) to take things to the hilt at holiday time – decorations galore, baking like nobody’s business, and hosting holiday parties featuring homecooked mains, side dishes and desserts for a few dozen guests. However, if you curtailed attending or hosting holiday gatherings in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID, you might be tempted to make up for lost time this year.
In case you’ve chosen to ignore the holiday decorations that have been on sale in big box stores since before Halloween, here’s a news flash: The holiday season is coming up quickly! If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to plan for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and any other holidays you might celebrate in November, December or January. Planning ahead is a big part of holiday stress prevention – this year or any year.
Even though the letter to myself that I share below is eleven years old now, the underlying stress prevention concepts still apply.
If you want to learn more about how to prevent holiday stress, read on….
January 3, 2012
I’m writing this letter to you to serve as a reminder for next year’s holiday season.
As a recovering perfectionist, that dark side in you – like many people out there – often worries about getting everything just right. You usually do a good job of fighting it off, but sometimes it creeps up and bites you in the rear. So let’s review what didn’t happen the way it was supposed to.
Every Thanksgiving weekend, you put up the tree and hang the outdoor lights. This year, it didn’t happen because you were just plain tuckered out from all of your book-related events and celebrations, so you didn’t feel like doing it. For the next two Saturdays after that, the weather was cold and rainy, so you didn’t hang the outdoor lights. Only the three lighted angels were set out.
And did the world end because you put out fewer decorations? No. In fact, not a single person who came over commented on the missing outdoor lights. “They were just being polite,” you say? No, they weren’t. They’re not shy about making comments, and they would’ve said something if it mattered.
For the pre-Christmas Eve gathering you hosted for thirty people, you didn’t make a huge spread of homemade dishes as originally planned. About half the food came ready-made from the store. Did people thumb their noses at this? Judging from the empty serving bowls, nobody took issue.
You went to your parents’ house for Christmas. They didn’t put up a tree. But you didn’t notice until your dad pointed out that fact. No one else who came to the house for the aforementioned gathering noticed either. Did the holiday season come to a grinding halt because one of the most common symbols of the season (non-religious, anyway) was missing? Nope.
So what’s the point of all this? Simple.
You CAN prevent holiday stress!
Don’t fall into the trap of holiday stress-outs. They are self-imposed. Do what you can and forget about the rest. What matters is that you spend the time with people you love and count your blessings. You did a great job just going with the flow this year, but in case you start backsliding into the holiday frenzy next year, I want you to remember that you managed just fine without it.
Now go set a calendar reminder for next Thanksgiving weekend to read this. Don’t worry. Be happy.
Wishing you love, peace and happiness,
Want to know how to prevent holiday stress?
For the complete guide to getting away from it all so you can truly relax over the holidays, check out The Great Escape: A Vacation Planner for Busy People Who Want to Take a Real Break from Work & Life.