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With the holidays coming up...


JLB
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Okay, any pointers on how to get through the holiday season without burning out or bringing on a crash? I'm the kind who overdoes it, and I'm determined this year to do it differently. I've already started my Christmas shopping to avoid any last-minute pressure, and I'll take it easy with the decorations - anyone have any ideas on how to simplify?

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HI JLB!!

I too have already started my christmas shopping. Most of it from home. My neighbor gets an LTD book and I also shop online. I was a little leary at first but have gotten a lot of beautiful stuff!!

As far as decorating I do it on the good days, and the kids love to help!! Keep it simple and just enjoy!!

Sue

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Like the others I have started my shopping. I tell all my family that by Oct 1st I need to have their Christmas wish lists. The kids usually give them to me the end of summer! By Nov 1st I will be finished which gives me plenty of time for wrapping. I also do the majority of my shopping through catalogs and I look fpr those who provide free shipping which is great. I love this time of year when the UPS man shows up with more and more goodies! Also, I have trimmed down my list of who to shop for like grown siblings etc. and this is a big help. We keep the focus on the kids. We have toned down the decorations in the last few years but find it does not interfere with our enjoyment of the season. Our children are off on their own in different states so the most important thing is having them HOME.

Mid October I finish plans for Thanksgiving when all my husbands family come to our house. Everyone brings something which helps and I buy everything we need in October. 2 weeks ahead we set up the house.

For me organization and planning are the most efficient and fun for me! I find the only way I can handle the holidays is to look at the weeks in advance and do 1 or 2 things each week to avoid overdoing it. ALso on Oct 1 I always post the "pre holiday work list" for my husband of what needs to be done around the house and he is very agreeable to work the list. He finishes every year by the end of OCt. And during the actual holidays when my husband is off he volunteers to do all the gtocery shopping...yeah...cuz the crowds are way too much!

When family are here I agree to let them help which was one of the hardest thing for me to learn. I thought I had to do it ALL but now accept help gracefully.

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Do a lot of on-line shopping!!

Make lists for everything ahead of time!!

Buy food instead of making it if you're having a big feast and/or attending a potluck!!

Enjoy the spirit of the season and don't get caught up in the hype that induces all that stress!!

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Find ways to reduce your family's contribution to hyper-consumption -- which not only degrades our planet's resources but is also stressful to you! And, dare I say, can really take away from the true spirit of the season.

One thing we are doing this year is that each family member is giving one gift to one other family member (via a randomized selection process!). So we will each get and receive ONE gift. I love it. Children are not included in this. And my sisters and I all agreed to do "stockings"-- we will each give one small gift for each sister for her stocking.

I really try to pace myself and not make commitments I might regret later--e.g., too many events/parties/get-togethers (either at my home or elsewhere).

As far as decorating and cooking, I prioritize--by asking myself which things are most important to me and doing those things first.

I don't do any gift shopping at all in December, unless it is on-line. I can't stand long lines or crowds.

I so agree with Jessica--try to first of all enjoy the spirit of the season, and be mindful of the hype trap!

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Amen to the above!

I'm luckier than many of you concerning the gift-buying hassles. I have no children (by choice). My husband takes care of gifts for his sons & their families, and does not exchange with his sisters or their families. My 4 brothers and our spouses drew names for a few years, but now we don't exchange gifts at all, and I never started buying for my 11 nieces and nephews. That means this year I will buy a gift for my dad, a small item for each of my music students, and a company gift exchange item. My husband and I will decide whether we're doing a gift for each other (and how much to spend) or if we'll go away for a few days or get something for the house.

As for the events, we just tell people that we will try to make it (or would like to be there) but only if I feel up to it that day.

When asked to bring a dish to share, I only bring something I can have, and if I'm the only one who eats it, that's fine with me. My family and friends always joke about my cooking - the truth is I am quite honest about being a terrible cook who dislikes kitchen duty, and I can't eat much of anything but eggs, plain meat and plain veggies anyway, so they won't want to eat what I can have. Therefore, I usually am asked to bring ice or paper plates & cups or some such thing, and then I watch everybody else eat & drink while I walk around with a glass of water.

Decorating? What's that? We've never had a tree in our 17 years of marriage, and we have never missed it. We have done the whole house in tinsel and lights some years, and nothing other years. It just depends on our mood, stress levels, schedules and my health - and since we don't entertain in our home, nobody knows the difference anyway. Most often we just put out the very few "nice" knickknacks and statues that we have, and call it finished.

As musicians, Christmas is usually our wildest time. But our Christmas Show is Thanksgiving weekend, and now that we don't have the church jobs any longer, this Christmas will probably be a breeze!

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I shop online, mostly at stores that have free shipping (and, of course, I use iGive affiliated stores, so when I shop, donations are made to DINET).

I also have had to learn to say "no" more often to family and friend gatherings--I used to push myself too hard. I think my mom gets annoyed with me for not making the trek up to Connecticut from Philly, but I can only handle that trip so many times a year, ya know?

Nina :P

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