December. Holiday season. A time for joy, goodwill, cozy fires, festive gatherings. I’m feeling the spirit of this time of year. What I’m also feeling is disorganized. Already
As I was mentally flipping through a list of possible topics for this week’s post, things like How to Incorporate the Holidays into Everyday Dressing or Accessorizing for the Holidays, my thoughts kept being disrupted by my “to-do” list that has been lingering at the back of my mind and manifesting in my house. It’s been growing by the day since the holiday season officially kicked off at Thanksgiving. I keep trying to force my thoughts back to where I think they should be, hovering around fun, fashion and holiday-related topics. But no matter how much I push these feelings of disorganization off to the side, they just keep creeping back in.
Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing serious that I have to deal with. I have some social things, some work things, some appointments, household responsibilities. Nothing that big. But still, I’m feeling a little stressed about the things on that to-do list, and I’ve been pondering about why that happens during the holidays. I think if it’s something that I’m experiencing, there’s a good chance that some of you are also. Maybe we can talk about it for a minute – then I’ll include a few sparkly things at the end.
Oh, That Holiday Stress
We all know that stress over the holiday season is pretty common. We want to enjoy the holidays and look forward to being with family and friends, maybe some special social events, playing Santa as we try to come up with the perfect gifts for the special people in our lives. So why does that plan seem to derail?
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves during the holiday season. We want our houses to look sparkling for guests, to get our gift shopping completed before the gift-giving date, to watch our budgets, to plan wonderful meals, and to keep up with regular life responsibilities at the same time. I’m seeing paperwork beginning to pile up – more than I’m comfortable with. But I can’t seem to find the time to sort it all out (I don’t deny that it’s not my favorite job, so I might be a little guilty of putting it at the low end of my priority list). And the weeks are beginning to go faster as we approach The Day. I’m starting to worry about completing my shopping in time. And, as if it’s not enough that money always goes faster during the holidays, it’s property tax time, and there are unplanned car repairs, and, boy, the carpets sure need cleaning before we have guests in the house. And it’s all wrapped up with a big bow and a gift tag that says “Must Complete by December 25”!
And though I live a pretty privileged life, and my loved ones are healthy and happy, this nagging stress lingers.
There are lots of articles online and in magazine that tell us ways we can fight, manage, and reduce our holiday stress. But maybe the simplest and easiest is to slow down, breathe, and prioritize realistically. What’s really important? I know how to answer that. You probably know how to answer that. Let’s pay attention to our relationships; they are precious, especially since this may be when you spend time with people you don’t see often. Let’s be realistic about how sparkling our houses need to be. I know that when I visit friends and family in their homes, I don’t notice the things that may stand out to them as eyesores. And can we make shopping fun instead of a chore?
The to-do list will still be there after January 1 and many of those things aren’t actually that time sensitive – we just make them that way by imposing these “must do by…” goals.
So, I’m going to try to put some perspective on my feelings of disorganization and holiday stress. I’m going to try not to feel that everything on my house list needs to get done before Christmas and only pay attention to the paperwork that has a time deadline before January 1. I’ll sit down and spend 30 minutes making my Christmas shopping list (it’s not that big). I do want to enjoy this festive time of year and experience the generosity of the season. I hope you can do that too.
Okay – now let’s put a little sparkle back! Here are a few ways to put a little holiday flair into your style:
- Festive Jewelry – How about a sparkly pair of earrings or fun gold statement necklace. Just remember to stay away from the “dueling” jewelry syndrome. You want that one festive piece to stand alone. I have a couple of pairs of earrings that I think are a little too much for everyday wear, but I am going to rotate them into my looks this season.
- Holiday-Perfect Jacket or Cardigan – Do you have a jacket or cardigan that is really only appropriate at this time of year? Wear it! A lot! With jeans, or velvet pants, or a dress. I have one of these. It’s a beautiful velvet jacket that’s reversible – one side dressier and the other more casual. I bought it years ago, and I still love it.
- Red – This is the perfect time of year to get your money’s worth out of your red tops, pants, sweaters, shoes. Ground the red in your outfit with something neutral, like cream, black, navy, or how about animal print (yes – it’s a neutral!). Red’s a color that I can wear, but I don’t very often. This is the time of year I give myself permission.
Be sure to do something you enjoy this week!