The holidays are a joyous time of year, but they can also be stressful if you don’t plan your time carefully. Between shopping for gifts, cooking and baking, getting ready for travel or hosting out-of-town guests and making sure your home is appropriately decorated, you can easily feel stretched too thin.
I’ve always enjoyed the many traditions of the holidays and am delighted to share some ideas to inspire a festive season:
- Get your shopping out of the way early. Either start early in October or purchase gifts, holiday cards and decorations throughout the year. My goal is to have all gifts purchased and wrapped by Thanksgiving. Gifts are mailed at the end of November and cards are written during Thanksgiving weekend. Holiday decorating for me starts the first week of December—although I know some people like to begin on Thanksgiving weekend.
- Carry on family traditions from year to year. My mom and I always baked cookies the weekend before Christmas and shared them with neighbors, friends and family. If I had two-legged children—mine have four legs and a tail—I’d be baking holiday treats with them every year.
- Consider a new decorating theme each year. I come up with a new theme to decorate my home every year, basing it on organizing the ornaments and decorations I already have and supplementing those with a few new theme-inspired decorations. My themes have included colors (red and purple) travel, cartoons, animals, nature (birds, trees, holly), religion (manger, angels, church) and favorite elegant ornaments.
- Treat yourself to some fun. I love to celebrate the season with friends by going out to restaurants, having appetizers and drinks at home, and attending holiday light shows and events (musical plays, ballet, movies, parks/garden events).
- Remember the reason for the season. Attending midnight mass—seeing the luminaries and church decor and singing festive songs—fills my heart with gratitude.
- Treasure the time with loved ones. Spending the holiday with family and friends, enjoying delicious meals, and opening carefully selected gifts makes all the planning and preparation worth the effort.
Diane’s Take: Embrace the season and partake in all its joyful activities. The good memories created at this time of year with loved ones will live forever in your heart.