by Pamela Cole Harris
Christmas is a wonderful time! Everyone is full of good cheer, the milk of human kindness and 20 pounds of candy. All gifts are given with love, are exactly the right size, are exactly the right color, or exactly the right thing for exactly the price you could afford. Right?
Well, if YOUR Christmas seems to fall short every year, here are some ways to keep your sanity and enjoy the unexpected joys that the season brings.
1. News Flash! You are not perfect! Nor is your family! Give up the myth that they should be!
2. Donít make the season complicated! Simplify! While elaborate decorations may appeal to your decorating ego, putting them up takes time and energy that may be best spent elsewhere this Christmas.
3. Everything doesnít have to be homemade. Pies, cakes and cookies are perfectly acceptable if they are bought at a bakery. And your children just might celebrate if you decide not to make that knitted scarf this year!
4. Relax. Take time out from the hustle and bustle to just sit with a cup of tea or cocoa and read. Or take a long hot bath. If you take some time for yourself, you will be better able to cope with the holiday chaos.
5. Let other people pitch in. You are not the only one who can do Christmas! Ask someone to do tasks you usually do, such as make the eggnog or cookies. And then LET THEM DO IT Ė even if they donít do it just the way you want! Donít constantly look over their shoulder.
6. Donít make the season an ordeal for your children by expecting perfect behavior. Children can easily be overloaded with the food, sights, expectations and social whirlwind of the season. Again, simplify for their sake ó and yours!
7. If you can afford to hire a cleaning service before company comes for Christmas, do it! Give it to yourself as a Christmas present! You will enjoy the season more because you wonít be worn out from scrubbing that tile with a toothbrush!
8. If you canít afford to pay cash for a gift, wait until next year to buy it. Save for the gift in the meantime. The short term thrill of buying the gift will be more than overpowered by the struggle to pay it off months into the new year.
9. Get out of the house and walk when you begin to feel stress. It will help you calm down and keep off those extra pounds. And it will give your family a break from you!
10. Donít do guilt Ė to yourself and others. Donít use your expectations of the season as a weapon against your friends and family. Enjoy what comes this season. It may not be what you expected Ė it may be better!
And remember Ė love doesnít come wrapped in paper, or tied with a bow. You canít get it for $19.95 if you call now or for two easy payments of onlyÖ you name the price. But love is but in the corners of a small childís smile, the twinkle of a fatherís eye or the drape of an arm across your shoulder. If you are expecting something else, you just might fail to recognize it! How crazy!
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