Sunday, December 12, 2021



The holidays can be as warm and fuzzy as you want them to be or they can be a horrible nightmare full of stress. I have come to the conclusion that I am over allowing our holidays (talking about Thanksgiving through the New Year) to add stress to our lives. Looking ahead and planning is the key. It can be easy to lose yourself in the shop till you drop syndrome and bake until you have everyone's favorite dish completed for the major holidays. You may be asking yourself, how did I manage this?

Actually, the idea formed in my mind throughout the pandemic. The times that we could not get together allowed me to see that it is ok to allow more "me time" and do what I want. Why? Well, actually there was no one to stop me? The vaccines had not been out and we could not be together. A new plan and way of thinking came forward.

It was just my husband and our two dogs. We used the phone and FaceTime to communicate. Along with shipping gifts to one another and opening while on Zoom. FINALLY! We had what I consider a close to normal Thanksgiving this year. We had just the two of us for the actual day that is Thanksgiving. Steve and I did none of the cooking. We ordered from a wonderful place that makes traditional Thanksgiving meals that actually (in my humble opinion) were as good as I could make them. We purchased small amounts and it was so worth it.

The next day, our daughter and granddaughters who live close by came over with our one son who lives nearby. Everyone had been vaccinated. The granddaughters' Dad worked the night shift at the busiest package delivery company in Memphis so he needed to try to sleep some before the next shift. Still, I chose to take the stress off and enjoy everyone. I put together a charcuterie board.

The board had things that I normally keep in the fridge, plus with a little thought of my grocery list, I was able to add some items that I know everyone would like. The major thing to note is that there was no cooking involved. I did need to put the brie in the oven with the fig and walnut topping in for a few moments. No big deal.

I think this was the most relaxed Thanksgiving we have had in years. Not a lot of dishes, pots and pans to keep someone in the kitchen washing and scrubbing. It was delightful. At some time in the future, we may end up with larger groups of our family and that will be fine. There still will be prioritizing how to make it work so that I am not stressed. Many dishes will be bought in larger portions and other things will be made ahead at our own time. It is a great way to keep negative feelings at bay. It means do not set unrealistic expectations for myself. 

  • Get the sleep that I need 
  • Stop for a cup of tea 
  • Eat as healthy as possible 
  • Take those vitamins
  • Schedule those spa days
  • Do those workouts 
  • Close my eyes and meditate  
  • Write in my journal reflecting on what I am grateful for
  • Read and paint 
  • Keep the smooth jazz playing on Miss Alexa
  • In other words, be creative

Dashing through the snow does not happen often here in Memphis at this time of year but I think you get my drift. Dashing off everywhere to pick up this and that...just adds to the stress. Why dash off anywhere? I try to shop locally and have it delivered and do it at my speed. Not the shop till I drop mode:

Wrapping as we go and writing down what has been received is a positive way to keep track of what has been purchased, has arrived and has been wrapped.

Also it is a matter of good planning from last Christmas. All of the Christmas decorations are in one easy location that the two of us can manage. Plus in boxes that are not too heavy to lift. This includes the wrapping paper, cards, bows and tags. It was a breeze this year. I must give some credit (most of it, actually) to one daughter who helped take downstairs the boxes that I pointed to that would be needed. What a trooper she is! Plus, when all was down, Steve and I could take our time to decorate. 


One more method that I incorporated on taking good care of ourselves through what could be an otherwise stressful time is that we BOTH have December birthdays. This year we decided to splurge and NOT buy gifts for each other. Instead we went to a fabulous dinner place and watched the sunset over a lake. Treated like royalty. The shrimp and grits and crab cakes with corn brulee were delicious. Then, because it was our birthdays, they brought out two small ramekins of a raspberry creme brulee with candles. How special!

Then to top it all off, the next day we had reservations at the famous Peabody Hotel for High Tea. Again...treated like royalty. Started off just walking around looking at everything. The lobby, as always, was full. When we made it over to the restaurant we seemed to have received the best seat in the house. A curved bench seat for two facing out at all of the other tables. Perfect!

My ending question is:
Do you have a plan to take good care of yourself through not only the holidays but for the New Year?

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