’Tis the season for parties and get-togethers! That includes friends, co-workers, and of course, family. Holidays are a fun and exciting time, but also stressful when you add it all up: presents to buy, menus to prepare, and all of that cleaning! Add in family visiting, and the planning increases exponentially. I am someone who truly goes into “kid mode” during the holidays. That is one of the things that my husband absolutely loves about me—he now pulls out the Santa hats before I even think about it!—but he has pointed out that I also have the ability to let all of the stress flip my mood.
This season I have decided that I am going into everything with a new attitude and determined to not let anything take away my childlike spirit! Here are a few things I have started to implement, to prepare myself for the excitement (and stress) of family gatherings during the holidays ...
Mentally Prepare. You know that family visits are exciting and fun, but may also be stressful and chaotic with more people, more conversation, and more noise. Remember your family’s quirks, and get ready to handle each and every one. (They might have to do the same with yours!) If you go in knowing that one family member likes to complain, just get ready to deflect the negative comment with a new topic … or a cookie (gently) shoved in his or her mouth.
Clean! I will first say “thank you” to my husband. He is definitely the neat freak of the family. I love having a clean place, but I’m also not one to stress over it. But when family comes to visit, I’ve learned it’s almost a calming mechanism. You know your home is spotless and comfortable, and your guests have whatever they need. You will not be sitting there worrying about toilet paper, anyone tripping on shoes, or the clump of dust up on the bookshelf (that my six-foot-plus brother-in-laws could spot).
Enjoy Yourself! Holidays give us many reasons to celebrate. Listening to Christmas music. Baking cookies and pies, mixing up (some much needed) cocktails. Seeing the faces of those around you enjoying the food you made (or bought, in my case), enjoying the presents you gave, and spending time with family they may not get to see often, is priceless.
I hope all of you can keep your holiday cheer alive … and the stress on the side! Enjoy getting to spoil yourself with treats, shopping for just the right gift, blaring Christmas music in your car, and spending time with those you love!
Written by: Courtney Van Hagen is West Michigan Woman magazine's art director, and that means she is responsible for the look and feel of everything that Serendipity Publishing creates, from the tiniest direct mail piece to the monthly monster magazine layouts. She learned her craft at Central Michigan University, and has been using it to advance in the graphic design world ever since.