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For some (probably more than would admit), this is the day fall is over and the holiday season ensues. Pumpkins are tossed, trees go up, and Christmas music plays. Okay, maybe November 1st is a bit eager, but this is definitely true the day after Thanksgiving.
Yet, research suggests engulfing yourself in the holiday season too early is likely to cause feelings of stress and anxiety. Are we surprised? This day in age, November and December are plagued with feelings of financial, physical and emotional strain. That’s because society puts so much pressure on us to cook the best meals, host the best parties, and buy the best gifts. In our striving to please our families and friends, we miss the whole point of the season.
To ensure the most wonderful time of the year doesn’t pass you by in the blink of an eye (and you would even use the word “wonderful” to describe it), here are five tips to enjoying the holiday season stress-free:
Throughout the next couple of months, find moments to be still. When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a deep breath. Deep breathing is known to combat the detrimental effects of stress and anxiety by lowering blood pressure and slowing your heart rate.
Take a Sabbath
Historically, taking a Sabbath means observing a day of rest from work. During the craziness of the holiday season, taking a Sabbath may not be a bad idea. As humans, we have limits. We were designed to rest. In fact, one day of rest a week may just be what we need to stay sane through December 31st.
Here’s the cool part. You have full authority to define what your Sabbath looks like. It doesn’t have to be on the weekend; it doesn’t even have to be a full day. The key here is to pick your Sabbath, whether it’s Wednesday afternoon or all day Sunday, define it, and finally, protect it.
Perhaps your Sabbath is taking a break from shopping (online or in-store). Maybe you unplug for a couple hours all together. Decide what your Sabbath looks like, and then prioritize that time above all else when the day comes.
Sleep is vital all year long, but especially around the holidays. Considering your sleep is most likely suffer during the last couple months of the year, it’s important you protect it.
After all, sleep only amplifies stress. So the more hours of shut-eye you miss, the more likely you are to fuss over the family holiday card, burn the Christmas cookies, and ultimately, get coal from Santa. All this to say, you’ll want to prioritize sleep if you’d like to enjoy the holiday season and make it to the New Year without pulling of of your hair out.
Not to mention, giving the gift of sleep is totally underrated. What most people wouldn’t do to get better sleep. Whether that means gifting cozy pajamas or actually purchasing a new mattress, we often underestimate just how valuable a good night of sleep can be for our physical, mental and emotional health. My advice to you—don’t only prioritize sleep this season, consider gifting it to others.
P.S. Did you know mattresses now come compressed and rolled in a box? AMAZING. Who would have thought you could actually wrap a mattress?!
Say “yes” to saying “no”
Ceaseless invitations flood your mailbox. How many Christmas parties, bonfires, and dinners can one get invited too?
Around this time of year, the pressure to say “yes” to social events, familial obligations, and those once a year bargains is greater than ever. In fact, some of us feel enslaved to the word “yes” as if uttering the words “no, thank you” would mean we’d never be spoken to again.
Here’s the thing. It is okay to say no. Actually, it is healthy to say no. Don’t bring unnecessary stress upon yourself. When a decision presents itself ask yourself these three questions:
- Do I have physical capacity to take this on?
- Do I have the emotional capacity to take this on?
- Do I have the financial capacity to take this on?
If the answer is no to ANY of these questions, you’ve got your decision.
Remember the reason we celebrate
Sometimes we become such a frenzied mess during the holidays, we blink and they are over. We miss the whole thing. Even worse, we miss the whole point.
Regardless of whether you are religious, remember what this season is for—celebrating family, friends, and all of life’s blessings! Don’t let it pass by in hectic blur, but remember to stop and appreciate the reason why you are doing the activities you are doing—hosting meals to commune with the ones you love, giving gifts to family to express your love in a tangible way, and reflecting on just how blessed we are.
Image from here.
IT’S FINALLY TIME! I love Christmas like whoa baby big time, but my husband is a stickler for not celebrating holidays before other holidays are finished so I have been doing my best to rein it in. No more, my friends! Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it is all Christmas all the time until December 25th. There a dozens of tiny things that I do every year, but here are a few of the highlights that I know I want to hit.
- Find the perfect Christmas Tree
- Pull our Christmas decorations out of the garage
- Deck the halls
- Get a holiday themed pedicure
- Mail out our Christmas Cards
- Trim the tree
- Make real hot chocolate from scratch
- Find a festive holiday dress
- Decorate my office
- Rock some holiday red lipstick
- Finish off my holiday shopping
- Random Acts of Holiday Kindness
- Host a holiday craft night
- Bake holiday treats
- Spend an evening listening to Christmas music and wrapping gifts
- Put together a gingerbread house
- Buy our Christmas Eve pajamas
- See the Nutcracker
- Make paper snowflakes
- Watch Christmas Movies
- Go to Victorian Christmas in Thomasville, GA
- Drive around and look at Christmas lights
- Wear some quirky holiday jewelry
- Sing Christmas Carols
- Make Spiced Cider
I am lucky enough to have my mom visiting for a couple of weeks, and she is as excited about the holidays as I am. It also gives my husband a chance to bow out of some of the merriment and have some manly quiet time.
Image from here,
The only thing better than a little bit of sparkle and shine this time of year is a lot of sparkle and shine. With Thanksgiving a scant week away, there is still a bit of time to pick up something special for your table. This year I am finding myself very inspired by items with a lovely warm golden tone. Here are some of my favorites.
- Gold Antler Place Card Holder – Pottery Barn
- Hurricane Glass Candle Holder – Crate & Barrel
- Gold Magnolia Garland – Crate & Barrel
- Dorota Highball Glasses – Anthropologie
- Herb Garden Napkin Rings – Terrain
- Mimira Dinner Plates – Anthropologie
- Gold Twig Flatware – World Market
- Brass & Glass Globe Centerpiece – West Elm
- Oak Branch Candle Holder – H&M
The other thing I like about these pieces is that they aren’t holiday specific – they’re all things that can be utilized throughout the year. I’m generally willing to spend a bit more on something if I feel like I can get plenty of use out of it.
Normally I just do a photo round up and leave the interpretation of what should be used to you, but this year I decided to explain why I found these particular images inspiring.
1. I am a big fan of outdoor gatherings, mostly because the weather is rubbish most of the year here. When the stars actually align and you can make the thing happen? A simple, carefully curated table is best: candles for lighting, cloth napkins so they don’t blow away, durable plates and glasses that can hold their own against a rougher setting, and lovely greenery to reflect the natural beauty of your surroundings.
2. While traditional can be a fitting adjective during the holidays, I’ve always admired a table setting that brings a little cheek into the equation. Mismatched place settings, a pop of plum, and centerpieces that have edible elements? Of all the images I’ve pulled for this post, this one is my favorite.
3. This is undoubtedly the most magical time of the year; adding some fairy tale whimsy to your table is a wonderful way to make your party just that much more special. The pieces I think really push this table over the top are the wood slice chargers, the wrought iron flat ware, and the silver and mercury glass elements incorporated into the centerpiece. Very royal banquet in the enchanted woods.
4. A lovely table doesn’t have to be overly complicated. A muted pallet like this one, paired with a single statement element, like that adorable painted pumpkin centerpiece, can impress your guests without making them feeling like they have to watch their elbows.
5. My family has always been more for buffet style dining, we lay the feast out in the kitchen, fill our plates, and then head to the table. Something like this fun brown paper table cloth can still give a nod to traditional place settings, and also help you subtly manage the seating arrangements if you have guests that tend to clash.
5. I’ve spent most of this post exalting the unconventional table, but all those thoughts and words aside, tradition can be lovely and nostalgic. Occasionally we find ourselves having to celebrate away from our loved ones, and setting a table that evokes fond memories can make the day a little less lonely. It can also help bring a table of strangers into an impromptu family for the day.
What kind of table do you like to set? What are your tips and tricks for entertaining?
Images from here.
The spookiness is building. I’ve decorated my work office and started putting together a work appropriate Halloween inspired ensemble, but it isn’t enough. I’ve been trying to distract myself by expanding my Halloween board on Pinterest.
I don’t think I’ll be doing a smoking pumpkin this year, but it is definitely something I’d like to try at some point, at least for the photos. I am probably going to make some holiday inspired treats. Maybe some cobweb cupcakes… witches finger cookies… white chocolate mummies… who knows, there are A LOT of tutorials out there. This plaster cast centerpiece is really incredible; gotta love Martha Stewart, right? I wonder how many tries it would take for me to get it right… probably should buy a few extra molding kits, right?And of course these precious macaroons, I can’t even imagine the delicate touch you’d need to pipe those teeny, tiny details. Oh well, back to it, things to see, stuff to pin!
Images from here.