How to Prevent Holiday Madness
One aspect of adulthood I don't think anyone prepared me for, unless I was watching my mother running around in a holiday induced frenzy, is the holidays aren't as fun or low key when you are an adult. No one surprises you with presents, desserts, free food and shuttles you back and forth between gatherings. Suddenly you are one of Santa's elves doing invisible and usually unthanked work to make events and gatherings better for everyone else. This emotional labor usually falls to women but I'm sure men get caught up in the frenzy too. Decorating, baking cookies, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, going to the mall, yikes! Don't forget driving to all these different celebrations with gifts, food and other humans in tow. Just writing all that made me exhausted.
So I put together some tips and tricks some more serious than others. Try to escape the stress surrounding the holidays and turn it into a fun frenzy that we need a few days to come down off of.
Just say no to too many commitments.
You probably can't say no unequivocally to everything unless you are the literal Grinch or have mitigating circumstances i.e. your family sucks and all your friends are out of town. Participate in gatherings and events you enjoy that don't cause more stress than they are worth.
Buy everything online. Bonus tip: have them wrap it for you too.
I always do this every year without fail. I used to work at the mall and know exactly how crazy it gets only escalating further until after Christmas returns start rolling in. Give the poor retail associates a break and don't shop on Christmas Eve.
Take time for yourself to recharge. Whatever you do normally to destress make sure you don't let it fall to the wayside just because you think you don't have time. There is always time to take a 5 minute time out for a walk or mental health break so your inner Scrooge doesn't pop out.
Buy desserts from the store and add garnishments to make your own.
No one will know they weren't homemade unless they shop at the same place as you. Winning.
Enjoy the traditions you like the most without shame.
Do you love watching Hallmark channel movies on repeat with hot chocolate? Do it. Or do you NEED a real Christmas tree that you cut down yourself? Get to chopping Paul Bunyan. Pick and choose the traditions you really like and are meaningful to you and your family and forget the rest. Baking and building your own gingerbread house from scratch? Listening to Christmas carols on vinyl while decorating the tree? Go for it.
Relax and have fun.
Unless everyone else is as detail oriented or neurotic as you, they aren't, no one will notice tiny flubs or mistakes. I haven't ever heard anyone complain about free food and desserts not being to their high standards. Maybe my family is just nice. Who can say. Enjoy and indulge in some wine or fudge because you deserve it. No one expects Pinterest worthy spreads so don't worry about it. If they do volunteer them to make everything next year.