Two things you should know before delving into this post: 1) I LOVE the holidays. Whether it be Halloween, Christmas, 4th of July or Arbor Day, I love them all (okay, maybe not Arbor Day.) 2) I LOVE the word agita. I love it so much I know I could never adequately explain how much joy I get from using it on a daily basis. With all of this being said, I have a love-hate relationship with these two things when they come as a packaged deal.
I’m not going to start a rant about the holidays becoming so commercialized that before you know it you’re buying your 2-year-old a $60 turtle costume for Halloween and spending $150 on a brother-in-law you don’t even like for Christmas. But I AM going to talk about how the holidays have become SO STRESSFUL!
Let’s start with Halloween, since that’s the holiday that’s nearest approaching. I remember when I was little my mom would make our Halloween costumes– and they were awesome! One year I was a picnic table, another year I was a garden. My sisters had equally creative attires, including a pet shop, a tube of toothpaste and a bag of jelly beans. Going to the craft store with my mom to pick up all the essentials to bring these creations to life was the best part. I loved looking in all the magazines trying to pick out the craziest, most unique costumes. Sure there were kids in my grade who were scarecrows and ghosts and all of that, but I refused to succumb to the stereotypical get ups. And the best part of it all (especially for my mom at the time): our costumes were always super cheap.
Let’s fast forward to today. Parents bring their kids to a huge party supply or costume store, stand them in front of a gargantuan wall filled plastic bags on hooks and want them to choose what they’re going to be. WHAT?! Not only is there a glare on half of the bags from the florescent lights beating down on the sales floor, but the model kids dressed up in the enclosed costumes aren’t NEARLY as cute as your kid and are probably sewn into the costume. With all of this hoop-la aside, the costumes cost upwards of $40. Once again, WHAT?!
Now, as followers of mine know, I haven’t always been money conscious. Just two years ago I spent $70 on a Top Gun flight suit… and it didn’t even come with the aviators! So I totally understand how people get sucked in to it all. But I’m happy to say, since starting my budget and keeping track of how every dollar is spent, this girl goes to the Salvation Army to put together her costumes.
Onto Christmas, yes, the dreaded December 25 for so many. And why is it that Christmas comes with cringes and eye rolling? In my experience, it’s been because we’re pulled in a million different directions. We’re expected to be anywhere and everywhere all at the same time. By December 20, even before Christmas gets here, we’re ready to wave our white flag in surrender. Here’s a crazy statement: it shouldn’t BE that way. And if you think about it, WE’VE created it to be this manic panic, rushing around from one part of town to the other, out of the car, in the car, stop at the store, need I go on? You know the drill.
All of this is aside from the heart palpitations we give ourselves when we in good faith set an ideal gift budget for ourselves mentally and then as we stand in the serpentine-style line at Kohl’s, calculating all our last-minute purchases in our brains, realize we’ve gone over… WAY over. And by the time you reach the cashier, you don’t even remember what you bought or who you bought the items for.
So, with all of this being said, here are a few holiday challenges for yourself:
1) Holidays fall on the SAME DAY (excluding good ‘ol Turkey Day,) EVERY YEAR. Even though it’s only October, start planning for the next several holidays, both in regards to commitments and budgets.
2) Come up with a plan of attack for the last of this year’s special occasions. Once you go over it in your mind a few times (and with the rest of your family,) you’ll find it’s easier to commit to sticking to it once the actual festivities begin.
Lastly, I’d like to throw in a shameless plug for all of my CNY followers out there. A friend of mine is holding a workshop called “Secrets to a Stress-Free Holiday” in December. She will be conducting several sessions, so it’s convenient for all who’d like to attend to do so. It’s only 90 minutes, and she’s sure to provide you with the tips you need to turn your holiday season into the best one you’ve had yet 🙂 She’ll talk about ways to decompress during this crazy time and how to make it not so crazy, along with sharing ideas on how to start memorable and meaningful family traditions. To register, please call Carol Kemp at 315.395.0765.