Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursday Thirteen #220

Christmas is almost upon us, so today I thought I'd offer up 13 ways to keep your sanity whilst trying to make everybody else happy.

1. Make a list. You might need to make several lists: who to buy for, and what, the food you want to purchase, Christmas cards, etc. This is the best way to make sure you get it all taken care of, and there's a reason why it's number one on my list.

2. Do what you can early. This one comes a little late in the season to be of much help, but generally speaking, if you can get the cards out early, or the presents purchased (and wrapped!) before today's date, or even by December 20, it makes things a little easier than if you wait until the last minute.

3. Say no. This is a hard one to put in place, because you don't want to turn folks down. But there is such a thing as too much - too many parties, too many nights out, too much time around people who don't really matter to you. Pick the most important events or activities and stick with those.

4. Do what you enjoy, and skip the rest. If you love to bake, then make cookies and cakes to your heart's content, but if that's not your thing, buy it at the market, put it on a pretty plate, and forget about it. If you like to make personal presents for your family, do it, but don't feel bad if you have to purchase something. While "it's the thought that counts" seems to have gone the way of partisan politics and world sanity, it really is the heart of the matter.

5. Turn off your internal critic. Give yourself a pep talk every day. Say things like, "I'm a good person," or make a list of your blessings. When you are annoyed, tell yourself that it will pass and tomorrow will be better.  Close your eyes, take a big, long, deep breath, and think about something peaceful, like a mountain or the ocean, for just a few minutes. It will help.

6. Change your environment. Sometimes it's enough to drive you crazy. If you're in the house all the time, get out and take a walk or go for a drive and look at the lights. If you're stuck at work, take your lunch break and enjoy the sights. Don't stay stuck there. Change your view and change your life.

7. Do what makes you happy. If you like to watch Rudolph, watch it! If you're into It's A Wonderful Life, make sure you have the DVD and make time to see it. Give yourself a little me time to do what you want so that you can recharge those ol' batteries.

8. Take care of your health. Unfortunately, this time of year is fraught with colds, flu, and tummy troubles. Wash your hands frequently, take your vitamins (maybe extra Vitamin D this time of year), and don't scrimp on sleep and healthy food. Exercise as much as you can. Don't skip meals or eat poorly because you think it will save time. You'll lose a lot more time than you'll save if you end up spending three days in bed with a fever.

9. Keep to your budget. This can be hard to do at this time of the year, but it is important for your overall happiness. First, of course, you should actually create a budget for the holiday, and don't forget to include entertaining expenses. Be sure to shop smart and hit the sales if money is an issue.

10. Help someone else. It's been shown that helping others helps you by lifting your spirits and giving you feel-good cooties. We all need feel-good cooties, so do a good deed. You can buy a toy for a child, do an angel tree, bake cookies for a shut-in neighbor, or just go out of your way to be kind to your spouse if you're interested in having a few of those feel-good cooties yourself. Of course, you can also just write a check to a few non-profits. It will give you feel-good cooties, too.

11. Meditate and/or pray. Praying and meditation is a good way to lower your blood pressure and heart rate, something we all need this time of the year. It promotes well-being, and who doesn't need that?

12. Be flexible. Sometimes your plans will change, and that's okay. You will still have a good time, so go along and enjoy it when your Thursday evening shopping trip turns into a sudden evening out with the office staff.

13. Use that mistletoe! In my opinion, in the United States, we don't have enough touch in our lives. We need to hug and kiss more. So pucker up, and lay one on your spouse. It'll do you both good.

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 220th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.


  1. Great suggestions, Anita! I do think you're right about the importance of getting things done ahead of time. Most of the tension I feel at Christmas is due to procrastination. My favorite thing about Christmas (other than being with family) is baking Christmas goodies (many of which I give away) and listening to my favorite Christmas music. It always helps me get in the Christmas spirit when I'm feeling Grinchy.

  2. Absolutely great suggestions! I hope everyone keeps them in mind. Thanks :)

    Happy T13,

    13 Procrastinations

  3. I have it so under control and then it sneaks up on me. I like the 'do it early' suggestion. Enjoy!

  4. I was surprised to see my husband watching Miracle on 34th Street this week... the old one with Natalie Wood. I have to say that it rather bored me, but still... I was shocked that he watched it!!

  5. I love lists! Lists most definitely help keep my sanity.
    #13 can't hurt either : )

  6. these are great tips!
    I'm all done wrapping - but still need to do a little more baking and my xmas cards (can't find my daughter's school photos - there are in this house some where! once I find them I can send out the cards)

    happy tt

  7. Sis,
    I carry a piece of Mistletoe all the time. But I tend to hold it over my back pockets all the time!!!!

  8. Good advice - you sound just like me. Thanks for sharing and visiting today. Enjoy!

    The Food Temptress

  9. Love numbers 2 and 4. I shop all year round, whenever I see something that's perfect for someone, I buy it. So when Christmastime comes around, I'm mostly done and that reduces the pressure. And I have learned that as long as you do *something* for everyone who matters in your life, you don't have to do *everything.* Thanks for the great list.

  10. Excellent advice. I always do lists when things start to go crazy.


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