The holidays are upon us.

Traffic near shopping malls and centers has reached its peak. While the season calls for joy and merriment, fuses are, unfortunately, short and tempers are high. Why do we subject ourselves to stress during the holidays? This is a time for joy.

Cherish time spent with family and friends. If your family is like mine, it’s hard to get everyone in one home at the same time. Enjoy the laughter, memories and, of course, the food. While gifts will eventually break or be misplaced (or possibly re-gifted), the memories last a lifetime.

Do nice things for others. Whether it’s offering to clean the home of this year’s holiday host or paying for a stranger’s coffee, doing nice things for other people is a two-fold gift. It makes us feel good about ourselves and brings cheer to the beneficiary. Consider paying it forward this holiday season, whether it’s in the form of money, time or labor. Keep in mind Cher Horowitz’s quote from my favorite movie, Clueless: “’Tis a far, far better thing doing stuff for other people.”

Give thoughtfully. Part of the stress of the holidays is shopping for the perfect gift. And there are often boundaries in place that exacerbate that stress. “Am I spending too much? Too little?” “Will this fit?” “Does Aunt Kathy still collect angels?” Gifts are certainly nice to receive, but no one wants to receive a gift at the expense of someone else’s sanity. Give yourself a break, and give from the heart. Something as simple as a batch of homemade cookies or coupons for free crochet lessons are thoughtful, original and don’t put a strain on the holiday budget. And speaking of cookies…

Allow yourself a treat or two. We all worry about our waistlines during the holiday season with good reason. But splurging on a bite of sweets or an extra helping of your favorite cornbread dressing shouldn’t leave you feeling guilty. Indulge a bit – that’s part of the holidays.

Of course, not all stress can be eliminated. But I encourage you all to stop and smell the gingerbread latte. Enjoy your reason for the season, whatever that may be.

Jami Mattox
Managing Editor

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