Stay Sane During The Holidays

When one of your well meaning friends reminds you how many days ‘til your holiday, do not panic.  Grab a fluffy towel, a la Doug Adams if you have to, but remain calm.  Here are five quick ways you can stay financially (and otherwise) sane this holiday.

Set expectations

If you exchanged even small presents last year with a friend or co-worker and just want to cut that out—let her know now to avoid awkwardness.  A quick email or note, “Just confirming we’re getting together for lunch this year as a present”.  Or better yet, just give/send her your holiday card with a warm catch up note inside to really say, love you, but not the spend this year.

Buy online

Either to support women or to build communities , giving online is fast, easy and can be a reasonable.  It’ll make a recipient proud to get and make you happy to give.  And ladies, say it with me, “No malls.”

Block it out

Block out those must-do items like my lindy hop annual ball, or your office holiday party.  BB it, iPad it, LotusNotes it, or write it down, but make sure you block out time not only for the must haves but also to see friends who’ll really make the “holiday” in “holiday season”.  You’ll know what you have to do, be able to plan in a calmer way and most importantly know what you can’t do.

Buy one less

Your brother doesn’t need a scarf and a bottle of wine.  Your neighbour doesn’t need your homemade cookies and a toy for their daughter.  Pick one gift, wrap it creatively and you’re done.  Even if your gift costs less than their gift, you’ve given and thoughtfully.  The act of sharing time together, or just thinking of them as you draw a funny in-joke in their card, or catching up with a laugh on the phone--really is the present.

Give yourself time

Whether it’s time for a really great home manicure, to laugh at a goofy movie, to cook a healthy yummy meal for one, to get to bed early—give yourself time and care over the holidays.  Mostly because we’re single and a) do it all and b) no one else will pamper us.  Also because the holidays can come packaged with an emotional drain and usually some nasty cold germs in the mall/office/subway—being nice to you is just practical.

How are you keeping sane so far?  Find anything overwhelming?  More tips to stay level-headed and healthy?  (Maybe the pictured cookies can help--featured in "O" magazine.)