By Kathy Gates
Getting through the holidays with your sanity intact doesnít
have to be Mission Impossible. But it will take you being willing to do things a
little differently than last year. Isnít that the definition of insanity anyway
-- to keep doing the same old thing the same old way and expect a different
So if youíd like a different result this year --being calm,
cool, and collected on Dec. 25 -- hereís some tips and ideas to help you.
1. Let It Ride
Didnít you ever truly wish that a person would give you exactly
the same thing that they gave you the year before? I have. Iím not suggesting
the boring Dad-tie routine. But it follows that other people who gush about a
gift youíve given might like a repeat. Donít think you have to be totally new
and creative each year. If youíve hit on something great, let it ride.
2. Double Up
There are likely people on your list that donít know each other
and that you donít know that well. Pick one thing that will cover a group of
people --service people, hostess gifts, neighbors, teachers, etc. -- and
purchase several of them. Fancy cooking oils, candles, books, stationary,
picture frames, etc. can all be used in a variety of gift giving. Youíll have
confidence knowing that you have a gift that works without having to spend hours
3. Pajama Shop
Instead of fighting the crowds and parking hassles, order gifts
from catalogs or online and have them sent directly to your recipient. You can
either send early and specify that itís not to be opened until Christmas, or
wait until closer to the date for delivery. Most companies even offer gift
wrapping if you choose it, and a generous return policy. Shop when itís
completely convenient to you -- over your morning coffee, in the bubble-bath, or
sitting up at midnight in your PJs. Now that would make anybody a happier,
calmer, saner Santa.
4. Keep It Earth Friendly
Donít we all have enough stuff? Think ďconsumableĒ this year,
things that will be used up instead of stashed in a closet or end up in the
Spring garage sale. Teenagers love event or movie tickets and seniors on a fixed
income enjoy the chance to splurge on a massage or a new restaurant. Ask any
single working mom if sheíd rather have a new sweater or a housecleaning
service. Each year we give lots of gift certificates so we find our own holiday
fun in buying a special ornament for that person as well.
5. Ditch the big fat obnoxious stuff
With all those gifts coming and going, and as holiday trimmings
invade your already crowded space, stress from overcrowding will set in. So
before you bring in the tree or start shopping, make a clean sweep through at
least the public parts of the house. Itís a good time to be ruthless --if you
donít love it or use it, store it. Donít panic -- you donít have to give it all
away. Just box up it up and shove it into the garage or under the bed. In Jan or
Feb, go back through it and maybe youíll decide to donate because you like the
more uncluttered feel of your space.
The bottom line is that holiday stress is often caused by you
being your own worst enemy. If you need help, delegate. If youíre a
procrastinator, beat it by starting early. Make some room for the holidays in
your space, in your schedule, in your heart.
Kathy Gates is a Professional Life Coach in Scottsdale AZ. I help people deal
with the stress of every day living
in a more organized and efficient manner. Get more information at my website
Real Life Coach,
http://www.reallifecoach.com/ and sign up for the newsletter.