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Slices of Life: Some Unhelpful Holiday Hints

Belmont Patch columnist Lisa Gibalerio has some ideas for stress management this holiday season.

Written by Belmont Patch columnist Lisa Gibalerio

Ready or not, here they are! The 2013 edition of “The Holiday Season” is in full swing.

For most of us, this is a stressful time of year. Participation in this festive season requires a tremendous amount of effort and energy. And nothing in our everyday lives stops, we just add to an already relentlessly demanding existence.

In an effort to assuage some stress of the season, I googled “Tips for Managing Stress this Holiday season.” Let me share with you some of the “helpful” tips I stumbled across.

Buy safe toys:  If you plan to buy toys for the kids in your life, choose age-appropriate toys and look for labels with safety advice.  Avoid toys with small parts and sharp edges.

Wow. I wish I had thought of that before purchasing all of the children on my list a set of kitchen knives. I guess the baby shouldn’t get a sewing kit this year, either.  Nix the razor stocking-stuffers.

Celebrate on a budget: Take a few minutes to decide how much you can afford to spend on gifts, travel, parties, decorations, and other holiday expenses. Stick to your budget.

Drawing up a budget that reflects what I can afford to spend actually increases my stress tenfold! I see the logic here, I really do. Hemorrhaging money in December is a sure-fire way to get the New Year off to a rough start. But really, can’t they come up with something that is even slightly possible to implement?

A friend of mine confided that it takes her the first ten months of the year to pay off the holiday bills from the year before. Once the debt is paid down, the spending starts up, all over again. She said it was her version of “Christmas Club” budgeting.   I think she is on to something.

Give the gift of service: The greatest gift you can give to others is service.  Consider reading to your child as it will improve his/her reading skills.

Here again, I can feel my stress level rising as I contemplate the reaction of my kids to receiving the “gift of service” in the form of being read to. Which isn’t to say that my family, as a whole, couldn’t certainly stand to offer more service to the community.  I am all for giving; I’m just not brave enough to pass it off as a gift to my kids, in lieu of “tangible goods.” Just saying.

Find seasonal employment: Businesses need extra help around the holidays.  Employment will help supplement your income and potentially lead to a permanent position.

What?! Let me see if I understand this, because yet again, my stress level is accelerating upward exponentially. In addition to already relentlessly demanding lives, we have for the months of November and December added: shopping, baking, wrapping, and card sending, to name just a few. On top of that, we are supposed to find seasonal employment. When?  From midnight to 5:00 a.m.? I’m going to have to pass.

Be safe and save money with LED lights: Consider switching to LED lights to save energy and money this season. LED lights also reduce the risk of fire.

Well, I suppose this makes sense. But “fire” had not even been one of stressors.  Until now, thank you.

Pay attention to food portions and exercise: Holiday celebrations sometimes involve over-indulging in sweet treats and heavy foods. Holiday pounds can add up over the years. Eat less food and make exercise a regular part of your day.

Well, I wish this had occurred to me before. Consider it done. I will, having read this tip, vow to eat less food and make exercise a regular part of my day.

Reduce holiday waste: The holiday season includes many opportunities to reduce waste, recycle, and reuse items. Buy rechargeable batteries, recycle your tree, and save paper by sending electronic greetings.

Way ahead of you on this one, hint writer. Our tree is artificial and is therefore reused each year. My “to/from” tags are made from recycled holiday cards. As for electronic greetings, clearly they are more Earth friendly. But isn’t it much more fun, once a year, to find an old fashioned greeting card in the mail box?

I’ll stop here. There are endless lists out there pertaining to Holiday Survival and Stress Reduction. But as you can see from the profound tidbits collected above, none are very helpful. It is a tough time of year.  

My advice: don’t sweat the small stuff and stop and smell the Poinsettias. But don’t eat them, some species are poisonous.

Wasn’t that helpful? Bet you’re less stressed already!

Good luck out there!

joslyne decker December 03, 2013 at 08:38 PM
But . . . but . . . I already bought the flame thrower for my 5 year old!

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