Dear Nedlam,


The holidays can be a stressful time of year for me, what with buying gifts for everyone, making sure there’s no arguments in the family, and trying to make it all perfect. However, it usually ends up being no fun for me, and I really want to try to recapture the holiday magic this year. Any tips on how to make this holiday a whole lot jollier?


                                      -Christmas Crazy


Dear Christmas Crazy,


First of all, take a deep breath. The holidays can be a stressful time for a lot of people, and a big reason for that is because people put a lot of pressure on themselves to make the holiday special for everybody.  Sure, the holidays are a time to be spent with family and friends and to have a wonderful time, but remember that it’s a time for you to enjoy too.

Next, when planning what to get people, figure things out ahead of time. I don’t know about you, but shopping last minute adds a lot of extra stress on me. For next year, try to plan ahead of time by writing out a list of what to get people and start buying their presents early. That way it minimizes the stress of buying gifts for later on in the holiday season when things get busier. However, since you are writing about buying gifts this close to the holidays, my advice would be to create a list of people you still need to shop for and write multiple gift ideas for each person. That way, if you can’t find one there will be another option readily available when you are out shopping, so you don’t have to go back after you figured out something else to get.

When it comes to family disputes it’s always best to have a good way to keep everyone too busy to argue. If your family is really prone to arguing, try to avoid games that are competitive. Some ideas for activities are caroling, a time where you decorate cookies, looking at photos from the year before, etc. However, if a little healthy competition is just what your family needs to get rid of the tension, I suggest games like holiday pictionary and Yankee Swap (it’s a little complicated to explain, if you would like to play Yankee Swap there will be instructions at the bottom). In the end, if your family does end up arguing, just realize that it’s not your fault. If you try to find the joy in the evening and do your best to keep things light and cheerful, then thats all you can do, and you should just try to enjoy your day.

No time of year is more infamous for joy and magic than this one, especially as a little kid. However, it feels like as we get older, the novelty wears off a little more. It doesn’t have to be like that. Personally, I love the holidays and I try to do whatever I can to really get in the spirit. Watching holiday movies, wrapping presents, baking cookies, eating cookies… etc. I have also found that being near little kids around the holidays definitely gets me more excited for the holidays, because they are so excited! It reminds me of when I was younger, and sort of recaptures the magic. The key, I think, for us older people is just to not overthink it. We should just live in the moment and forget about our stresses and mile long to-do lists. The magic of the holidays for us is to have a nice long break, to be surrounded by people we love, and lots, and lots of food! Hope you have a Happy Holidays!

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