When November 1st rolled on round last week, I could barely believe that we were turning another page of the calendar! October seems to have absolutely flown by.
Now that we are in November – it’s officially OK to talk all things Christmas and the festive season 🎉
(Even if we did start a little early with Ben Nacca’s amazing financial guide!)
It helps hugely to get a head start on planning for the holidays. The festive season is so incredibly exciting (anyone that loves glittery ornaments, spicy scents and an excuse to celebrate for two solid months will relate!) but it can also be overwhelming.
The pressure of gift-giving, attending social events, splitting commitments between friends, family and colleagues – it can be a lot.
In a bid to help you to approach the holiday season thoughtfully, and dodge any pesky bouts of overwhelm, I’m opening up the floor to Chelsea, to share her take on handling the season with grace.
Over to Chelsea!
Love, Monica x
“Though it takes some prep and self discipline,
approaching the next few months
amplifies a season
that was already pretty perfect.”
I second Monica – can you believe it’s already time to start preparing for the holidays?
The good news is (despite the quick-feeling approach!) – I absolutely adore the holidays.
I live in sunny California, so although we don’t get the cold weather that makes the season feel ‘complete’, there is something all-encompassingly cosy about the holidays – and I adore it.
Time spent giving, with family, eating, and all of the holiday cheer! It’s a joyful season.
As with most things however, there are two sides to the story. Alongside the cosiness the season brings, there’s also a major sense of craziness to go along with it.
With get-togethers comes a busy schedule. Gifting means buying presents. Sharing meals can come with a ‘perfect meal’ expectation, and so on. The holidays can leave you spinning if you’re not careful.
Since I’m such a lover of the holidays, and because I’ve learned my lesson about (not) waking up with a holiday hangover (literally and figuratively), I’ve done my best to be mindful surrounding the festive season over the past few years.
And though it takes some prep and self discipline, approaching the next few months thoughtfully, amplifies a season that is already pretty perfect.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re looking to approach the holidays sans overwhelm . . .
4 Ways To Dodge Festive Season Overwhelm
1 – Shop Ahead
Obvious, right? But do you actually do this?
Confession: I didn’t until a couple of years ago.
I’d wait until the week of a holiday, run to the mall in a flurry – along with the rest of my city – and come out feeling like I overpaid, forced presents, and usually sweating! Not a good combo!
Now, I shop with people in mind all year long.
My mom is a huge fan of natural candles, so whenever I see a special one throughout my year, I grab it for her. My dad and I share an addiction to self-improvement books and biographies, so when a good one comes out, I buy and save it.
True story: I have two shelves in my linen closet dedicated to presents. Some don’t even have a specific person in mind, but when I find an item that I think is special (or on major sale), I buy it. I know it’ll come in handy for the holidays or last minute events any time of year.
The takeaway? No more sweaty mall trips the week of a party or event! Shop ahead of time, and whenever you stumble across the ‘perfect present’ for someone. It will help you to feel more in control of your gift-giving, and help to spread the cost of the season too.
“If your schedule is crazy,
gracefully decline a couple of events over the holiday season.
It will help to spread your energy,
and dodge that ‘holiday hangover’ feeling come January.”
2 – Say “No”
Over the last couple of years, the trend of ‘saying “no”’ vs. ‘being a “yes” person’ has come to the forefront. And I’m so happy it has!
I’m personally all for saying no!
If your schedule is crazy, gracefully decline a couple of events over the holiday season. It will help to spread your energy, and dodge that ‘holiday hangover’ feeling come January.
For example: if a friend is having a party which you know will tip you over the edge commitment-wise, ask if you can make it up to them with a (warming spiced!) coffee another day soon.
It’s important to recognise when you need a night at home, and you don’t need to feel guilty for it.
It’s all about recognising the fact that you are your top priority, and you can only be your ‘best self’ for your friends, when you look after your own wellbeing first and foremost.
Similarly, if work has an event (volunteering or otherwise) over a weekend, but you already have something planned, it’s OK to skip it! People respect others with boundaries, and it’s important to be firm about your own.
The takeaway? There’s a way to say no with kindness and without guilt. Put yourself first this holiday season. Take care of your mind and body, and you won’t run yourself into the ground. Meaning you’ll be a better friend, family member and party-goer this season! And who doesn’t want to give it their all, for the parties they actually attend?!
3 – Bring What You Know
I’m no Martha Stewart, but I will say, I have about ten recipes that I make damn well!
I’ve learned to accept that I’m not keen on perfecting a new recipe weekly – and quite frankly, I stink at baking. But what I don’t stink at is making a tater tot casserole, a fresh salad, pepper jack mac n’ cheese, and a few dips that will blow your socks off (if I do say so myself!).
When a friend asks you to bring something to a party, go with what you know. It’s not the time to try a fancy new scone or side dish – there’s usually no time or energy for that during the holidays.
Offer to bring one of your stellar dishes (I’ve done my best to perfect one in each category – so breakfast, appetizer, meal, etc.), and don’t worry about being best in show at the potluck.
Once the season is over, you’ll have a lot more time to try something new!
If you hate cooking altogether? Everyone loves the provider of wine!
The takeaway? Good food is good food. Serve up your favourite recipe, and it’ll go down a treat. Not only will it be a lovely contribution to the party, it’ll save you precious time and energy which you can otherwise allocate to being present and relaxed at the party!
4 – Volunteering
Though the week of Christmas is a splendid time to volunteer, my preference is to offer my time after the new year.
Many people volunteer during the traditional holidays, so I’ve actually found it hard to find spots available at times, and peoples’ needs don’t finish after Christmas. Try volunteering after the traditional holiday season, and help to continue to the good feelings of the season into the new year.
When helping others, it’s a humbling and rewarding experience, and it’s always a time that instills an immense sense of gratitude.
So often we forget all that we are blessed with – and what we have.
The takeaway? If you can’t make the space to volunteer during the holiday season, know that people will be waiting with open arms come January – and it’ll carry over the grateful feelings that the holidays are all about, into the new year.
What’s Your Take?
That’s all for my tips on fighting overwhelm as the holidays roll in. I’m sure you have more ideas that would only increase the zen vibes, too – so please share!
I’d love to know what you have planned for this season?
Wishing you a happy, healthy and peaceful start to the holiday season.
Love, Chelsea x
Photography by Frances McMahon
Cardigan: Primark – Similar
Belt: Mango (Old) – Similar