As I write this, it’s exactly 5 weeks until Christmas and 6 weeks until the New Year….and a whole new decade.

And with this realization, I’ve got to admit……

I sometimes dread the end of the year, Holiday season craziness.

I’m no Grinch, but the full two months of Holiday commercials, shopping and parties, can be a little too much.

Did you notice that the day after Halloween, costumes were replaced with overflowing shelves of Christmas decorations?

WTH happened to Thanksgiving?

We totally skipped over the whole “giving thanks” thing and went straight into wish lists and 24 hour shopping on Amazon.

‘Tis the season!

And with the season, I felt a pang of anxiety creep in. 

This is the season of excess….

  • Excess food…
  • Excess spending…
  • Excess obligations…

Don’t get me wrong, I love all the things the Holidays bring….

  • Quality time with family……
  • Socializing with friends…..
  • Great football……
  • The dazzle of the lights……

I also love the thought of the sun re-emerging after the solstice and the solace of longer days. 

But I know I’m not alone when I realize this is not the focus of this season, typically. The focus of the classic American Holiday season seems to be about consuming every possible event, cookie, drink and deal that’s put in front of us:

  • There’s the office parties, and the concerts and the cookie exchanges and Christmas parties….your calendar is immediately populated.  Not one weekend moment free.
  • There’s the food and drink that is constantly available.  The refined sugar, flour and alcohol are enough to put an immediate 5 lbs on anyone’s midsection and leave you with a chronic headache.  
  • And lastly, there’s the “deals”.  Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc. It’s all created from a place of “DO IT NOW! Or it will be too late and your loved ones will be disappointed in you!”

Please tell me what all this has to do with 3 dudes from the East presenting gold, frankincense and myrrh to a baby in a manger.  Our obsession with “all things Holiday” has gotten a little off the mark.

So, why do we do it all?

FOMO (fear of missing out) and WOPT (what other people think).

If you love the parties, the food and all the shopping…..awesome……get on with your bad self. 

But if you find the holidays just too much and that they end with all the overconsumption on your waist and credit card statement come January 1st…..

I challenge you to pull back the reins of Santa’s sleigh NOW.

You can have a beautiful Holiday season enjoying your friends and family and all the bounty of the table, without going off the rails.  Because as you know…..

Too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing.

So……what can we do about it without shutting ourselves off from the world?

Make decisions about who you want to be during the season ahead of time.  

You can decide if you’ll: 

  • Eat everything in sight….. or enjoy one special cookie.  
  • Outspend your budget trying to impress & out-do……or give considerate, thoughtful gifts instead. 
  • Say “yes” to events out of obligation….. or say “no” to the ones that sound draining.  (And let other people have their opinions about you.)

You can do this consciously.  

Here are my top 5 ways to do the Holidays like a Total Badass:

  1. Control your screen time.  FOMO is real, my friends, and nothing triggers it faster than social media and the television.  Watching everyone be Perfect all the damn time on Pintrest and HGTV can leave you feeling “less than” more often than not.  Don’t do that to yourself. You know it’s not real, but it still can feel like you’re on the outside looking in.  (Plus, you get to avoid those annoying Old Navy ads.)
  2. Stay out of the stores.  There are marketing experts with PhD’s that engineer your buying experience.  Who hasn’t gone into Target for wrapping paper and came out with a $250 Kitchen Aid mixer?  (Ehem. In my defense, it was for baking all those well-intended neighborhood treats I never got around to).  Shop on Amazon. You won’t avoid marketing, but you sure can stay a bit more on track.
  3. Give.  I give money to my favorite charities and I also give my time and attention.  Nothing will take the focus off your own stress and loneliness faster than helping others. It really is what the season is all about. 
  4. Stay on routine.  Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to give up all your good habits.  The three big hitters for me are exercise, food, and alcohol:
    • I move my body 7 days a week.  Not always intensely, but even on my craziest days, I still have time for a brisk 15-minute walk.  So when you go over the river and through the woods…..bring your tennies and go for a walk. No excuses.
    • I don’t drink more than two servings of booze.  I know…..this seems like no fun, but anything more and I’m poisoned.  (Thanks middle age!) But it is what it is, and if I want to continue to take excellent care of myself, overdrinking doesn’t fit in.  I sleep better and I wake up feeling refreshed…..not jonesing for a cookie.
    • I don’t eat whatever I want and “worry about it on January 1st”.  I know that my food choices now will make me who I am tomorrow. And I don’t want to feel sluggish or thick now…..nor on January 1.  And most importantly…..
  5. Say “NO” like a total Badass.  Don’t say “yes” to anything you haven’t consciously decided to do or have.  Here’s what I do:
    • If I don’t want to eat it, I don’t.  If people get their feelings hurt, that’s completely their own business.  What goes in my mouth, is my business and mine alone.  Back off food-pushers! (Mom, I’m talking to you 🙂
    • I don’t do gift exchanges.  Period.  So if I don’t get involved, it’s not because I’m a Grinch or anti-social, I just choose not to perpetuate the increased environmental ramifications of manufacturing, shipping, storing and ultimately, throwing these seemingly innocuous gifts into landfills.  (Plus, I know you don’t need it. 🙂
    • I carefully curate my social calendar.   If I want to stay home by the fire instead of going to a crowded house party, I stay home.  My time is my business and it’s limited. I keep guard over it like a junkyard dog.
    • I have a budget.  My kid’s birthdays and Christmas fall within the Holiday 6 week period.  (How’s that for planning?!) It’s all ok though because they know their “gift budget” and that helps them prioritize their lists and keep their expectations in check.  They learn control. I stay out of debt.

So that’s it.  

My 5 ways to do the Holidays like a Total Badass.

As always…….

Please remember that YOU have all the power to choose who you’re going to be this Holiday season.  And also……

You have the power to choose who you will be on January 1, 2020.

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