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5 Ways to Survive the Holidays

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Thursday, November 19th, 2009 in Culture, Getting Things Done

12172007ornamentAs many of you are no doubt aware thanks to incessant advertising and store themes, Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner, and everyone is gearing up for what many call the “holiday season”- the sometimes-nasty period encompassing Thanksgiving and generally ending on New Year’s Day. Though these holidays are generally wonderful and a lot of fun, they also easily generate a lot of stress and anxiety- from the amount of food you eat to the presents you buy.

So, to help you prepare for this year’s holiday season, here are 5 ways to prepare yourself and ultimately survive the next month and a half.

1. Buy gifts well and get them out of the way.

Gift-giving has to be one of the biggest problems of the holiday season. While it’s certainly fun to give and receive presents, the fundamental issue is that most people around will be doing the exact same thing- meaning that buying gifts from even online stores is often a chore.

The simplest way to handle this process is to merely avoid it and get it over with as early as possible. Do not wait until the last minute to buy gifts- it often means you have to take whatever you can get, and is an ultimately thoughtless procedure. As early as you can (even before Thanksgiving), begin planning out gifts and, as much as you can, purchasing them at a reasonable pace.

Doing so helps you avoid the infamous Christmas rush at stores and even online, and it also assists in that it allows you to plan out thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list, rather than simply buying what seems to generally “fit” them.

2. Exercise and keep up with healthy eating- but feel free to splurge.

Exercising and eating right throughout the holidays is incredibly important- many people tend to gain weight during the holidays, a depressing gain that is often never lost afterwords. Do everything you can to avoid this trend.

Most gyms and fitness centers stay open most days of the holiday season, generally every day except for Christmas. Take advantage of this. Many (good) fitness centers and weight lifting joints all over provide month passes you can purchase, which are perfect if you plan to go to relative’s or friend’s homes for the holidays.

Still, don’t feel like you have to torture yourself over the holidays. While the cookies and cakes and pies will kill you, simple things like turkey and ham are not inherently bad whatsoever- like any meat, they are phenomenal sources of protein. Additionally, if you are hitting the gym on a regular basis, you shouldn’t feel too terribly guilty about splurging on a slice of cake or pie once and a while- after all, you will work it off.

3. Avoid common sources of stress.

Even though it sounds obvious, it’s something very important to remember: avoid common sources of stress, be they family issues, relationship issues, or even silly things like reservations. Plan early and relax.

If you are working or in school, try to get a lot of work done very early in December to allow yourself to relax for the rest of the month. If you have a lot of different errands to do, do them early. Plan what you want to do on the holidays as early as possible. Give yourself plenty of time to relax and enjoy life during the holidays as well- don’t overschedule. If there are significant family rifts in your family (black sheep, etc), then try to avoid exacerbating any problems.

Additionally, though I hate to note this as it should be VERY obvious, avoid drinking excessively at parties and other social functions. One drink is usually sufficient- if you can’t handle that, then simply do not drink. Very little good ever comes from getting drunk during the holidays.

4. Prepare a few good outfits.

If you plan to show your face at Christmas/other holiday parties, you’ll probably want to wear something nice.

As a general rule, it is presumed in most countries celebrating the “holiday season” that it will be cold- so even if it’s only tepid, feel free to layer and play around with heavier knits. Tweed or heavier knit suit jackets/blazers, sweaters, dress pants, and nice shoes are always good options for any sort of function. Scarves are always amazing to accent an outfit. Wool coats are a great accessory.

Don’t wear Christmas sweaters or other “themed” items- that’s always a little bit grandma-esque. Rather, stick with classics, and if you want to throw a bit more of the “holidays” into them, do it with color. For example, a nice deep red sweater is all you need in terms of “theme”- otherwise, avoid being too silly. Leave that to the crazy women with 20 cats.

5. Relax.

The simplest yet most important rule: simply relax.

The “holiday season”- Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, and everything surrounding- is meant to be a lot of fun and a way for people to get together and enjoy life. Ultimately, these are made for you to feel closer to other people and enjoy a period of the year. Religious connotations or not, familial obligations or not, do not feel as if you need to “sacrifice” yourself in order to make for a “good” holiday season- rather, try to make sure that everyone enjoys themselves and you don’t end up ruining yourself to do so.

Oh yes, and listen to this. The Vince Guaraldi Trio freakin’ rocks.

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