Thursday, December 4, 2008

Holiday Stress

Things have been very busy around here at Pursuing Simplicity. I took a little break from posting in order to take care of all the things going on. If I let them, these activities can add to my stress over the holidays. I am a typical "Type A" personality. I long to be a sweet, mild spirit and a "Type B" but that was not how I was created or wired. So below are a few things that keep me sane this time of year:

I stay out of the mall. Yes, you heard me correct. I stay out of the mall! The last two years I have done most of my shopping online! I know it sounds geeky or crazy but I have found all the same bargains that they are offering in the stores online. My son wants something this year that he said is in the mall....well I found it online and it was a better price than the one at the mall. I received it in TWO days and it is perfect! You can also stay out of the mall at the holidays by purchasing your items ahead of the game. This is only the second time that I have not had all my shopping done by August. That in and of itself makes me very stressed but I have to say that the past two years I have found bargains online that I would not have found in late July!

I jump on the treadmill more! I have been exercising two times a day. Now I am not some goddess when it comes to physical fitness that is for sure but I have found that being on the treadmill first thing in the morning and once I get home from work has really taken a load off my stress level plus increased my energy!

I make a list and check it more than twice! I start out by making a list of what my teenagers and young adult son want for Christmas. We ask them to give us a few things they need and a want or two. We budget just 125.00 for each child. Whaaaattt? Yes siree bob, we only budget 125.00 for each child. Now I am sure you are wondering how in the heck do we buy anything of value for a 20, 17, 15, and 14 year old for Christmas? YOU ARE CREATIVE AND THRIFTY!

Now I know my children do not read this blog but I am a little hesitant to lay it all out here for you to read what I purchased for them. So I will leave a little to your imagination. There is a very popular brand of jacket out there currently and they are VERY expensive at least for this thrifty and frugal mom. I found two of the boys theirs for under 35.00!!!! 100.00 pullover, all teens love this brand, cool colors, purchased online at an outlet store! I purchased our daughter's jacket online this year as well. They are going to be SO excited and I still have money left over in the budget to get more items on their list!

Look for coupon codes when you shop online. I love to go to Kyle's blog, Rather-be-shopping when I am looking for bargains online. Check him out!

We focus more on the meaning of Christ-mas than the gifts. Our children have always gotten three gifts and then small things for the stocking. Christ was brought three gifts so we think it is more than perfect for our own to have three gifts. It really focuses more on the reason for the season than a free for all in the gift department.

Keep an accurate calendar and be prepared to use that two letter word...NO...It is hard with so many parties, activities, programs, and fun this time of year. We never leave out the children's activities at school. We have basketball games to attend, a choral concert for our daughter, a Winter Ball the teenagers are attending this weekend to get ready for, and two office parties. There are several other things the week of Christmas but we will take them under advisement as the time draws near. The main thing is not to overfill your calendar with so many activities that the holidays become a burden. It is a time to be joyful not stressed!

Remember traditions and make new memories. Christmas is particularly difficult for my family. My husband and three younger children lost their wife and mom after the holidays nearly eleven years ago. We have tried to make new memories and traditions as a family and I have kept some of their former traditions as well. We love putting the tree up together the day after Thanksgiving. We listen to Christmas music, have hot chocolate, and decorate the tree. We love to cuddle up and watch old Christmas movies together too.

It takes only a little imagination to come up with a few things to do each year that children look forward to. For instance, I made Monkey Bread our first Christmas together as a family. It is very simple and not too spectacular. It made a huge impact on the little ones at the time. I now make it every Christmas morning. It has become a tradition in our home. I only make it Christmas morning so they really look forward to it each year.

These are just a few things that I do to eliminate the stress of the holidays. What do you do that helps with your level of stress this time of year?


Kyle said...

Loved this post Vickie. Next week I am going to start working out my eliptical machine to reduce my holiday stress. The benefits of exercise on the brain and stress levels are well proven. Now I just have to get in there and do it! Thanks for the reminder and motivation this post provided me and thanks for the mention too!

Leigh said...

Funny, I was just thinking of you. It has been almost a year since my trip to Vietnam and I was reading my blog posts from last year. You left me some very kind comments and I really appreciated your interest and kindness.

Val and Jules keep me up to date on you. Glad all is well.

Happy Holidays! Take Care!