5 holiday tips for peace

by humanmama on November 26, 2013

I’m a fairly easygoing person, but during Christmastime, between running around like crazy with mall traffic and light-up nights and kids begging me for Stuffeez (DAMN YOU, Disney channel!!) even the most deep-breathing yogini can get rattled. So, here’s how to survive the holidays. Or, at least, here’s how to make it until the kids are asleep and you can have a cup of tea by yourself (or a cup of …whatever you like).

Step 1: Don’t let the man get you down. And, by “the Man,” here I’m talking about Santa. If there’s anything worse than shopping for Christmas things during the actual Christmas season, it’s watching a line of crying, screaming, frightened children being forced to sit on Santa’s lap. It’s okay to go take your photos with the guy, if that’s your thing, but please, in the name of all that is Holy, please do not make your kids sit on Santa’s lap if they don’t want to. This will never be a happy memory. They will never look at that photo of the fear and crying and think, “that was hilarious.” Personally, I feel like I work really, really hard the rest of the year telling my kids “NEVER sit on a stranger’s lap, especially if they offer you candy” and then we get to Christmas and say “Hey! Just go sit on that strange old white man’s lap! He’s sweating and wearing a costume and offering candy canes! That’s fun!” If they don’t want to do it, be glad. And hug them. And don’t worry: there will be many more photo opportunities this season.

Step 2: Don’t overdo it. Some people take illegal drugs to deal with their stress. I find myself reaching for the Christmas Cookies. Or leftover turkey. Or chips. Or queso. Or chocolates. Or even those disgusting shortbread cookies that your grandmother has in a tin that no one ever eats. Our brains trigger all sorts of good-feeling chemicals when we eat junk food, and so when we’re in stressful situations it’s natural to want those good-feeling chemicals. Don’t do it. Take a walk with someone you love (even if it’s just your pet!) and relax. Take a nap. Take a deep breath. But don’t overeat… or over-anything.

Step 3: Take a time-out. For yourself. Please do us all a favor and take some time to do something that you like to do. It’s pretty to have photos of doing “all the holiday stuff,” but it’s stressful. And everyone will be able to see how totally stressed you are in those pretty photos. So just get out. The other day I bought some stuff on Craigslist for my annual Craigslist Christmas extravaganza, but I really did it because I wanted an hour drive, both ways, in my car. By mySELF. It was good.

Step 4: Don’t forget the humanity. We’re all just human. Everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they have. If they’re not doing great, maybe it’s because they don’t have the right tools. Give them some credit. Give them a break. And have a great time together. Then, retire to your own house and your own space and curl up with one of those really cheesy Christmas movies. Don’t forget: your stuff might annoy them, too. Everyone’s doing the best they can.

Step 5: This is only temporary. This is a fundamental tenet of Christianity and Buddhism and also of being a person on the planet earth. This will pass. Relax, enjoy, and pack it all up on January 2nd. This too shall pass! Pass the gravy!



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