The holiday season for me is one of convergence. A convergence of work demands, holiday tasks, gatherings, gifts and merriment. It feels like everything needs to get done, and there’s not enough time in the day or energy in my body to do everything. It affects my routines, eating habits, cash flow and health. Yet I love it and look forward to it every year.
Decorations brighten the landscape, workplaces and homes. Stress abounds, but so does good cheer. Frenzy and serenity coexist.
There is a reason why the holiday season is considered the most wonderful time of the year. Embracing holiday traditions is one way to make this season merrier and brighter. Whether it be carrying on family traditions or creating new ones – traditions bring a sense of nostalgia, joy, and comfort. Traditions are unique to every family, but no matter how we all celebrate, there’s one thing we all have in common: the holidays are meant to be enjoyed with those we love.
It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is upon us once again. We’ve entered November and have already had some cooler temps across the country these days, helping to signify that special time of year. The holidays mean something different to everyone. And for some it means a period of stress and tension trying to plan and prepare for the festivities to come. But the holidays don’t have to encompass just tension and hard work. We can make things a little easier with some planning and prep ahead of time.
I am a huge proponent of making lists. They help keep us organized and help us to recall things that need to be done. Having lists written out gives you a better idea of what your tasks are and allows you to put things in order of priority. It’s also a great feeling being able to throw the list away once you’re done with it.
Keep it Simple
Sometimes less is more. During the holidays there’s already a lot going on, so why not simplify things where you can. Cooking for the holiday? Maybe focus on less side dishes or the abundance of dessert varieties. If gathering with others, go potluck for the meal. Have others prepare their favorite dish to bring to the occasion. And maybe even swap recipes with one another to make it more fun. If you’re able to, why not have a holiday meal or party catered? Or perhaps order your favorite takeout and gather with friends and family. Keeping it simple helps free up time to do other things you enjoy during the season.
Ask for Help
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help, and at the holidays is no exception. Asking others to help plan and prepare meals, purchase goods, or clean and organize, can help you conserve energy and helps to maintain sanity during what can be a hectic time of year. Others may be very willing and eager to help, especially if they don’t have their own share of endless tasks to conquer. You can also pick and choose who you ask for support. You don’t have to take on everything alone.
This time of year can be truly wonderful and magical. It doesn’t have to look a certain way or cost lots of money. It’s about enjoying the spirit of the season, the joy, the lights, the hope. Be sure to carve out time to appreciate the special moments of the season. Nothing is or must be perfect. It can just be whatever it means to you.
Wishing everyone a safe and joyous holiday season!
I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe we’re already stepping into the holiday season. It’s bizarre to think that this year is almost over. I think many will be glad to see its end, as 2020 has for sure brought so many changes and ups and downs. In what has become a most unconventional year, the holidays may rightfully look a little different too. But that’s not to say that they will have any less meaning or celebration. This holiday season may just have a uniqueness unlike years before.
In this context, different doesn’t have to mean non-existent or absent. Maybe it means just having to tweak or modify the way the holidays are celebrated. It may not be the same nature of holidays past, especially with large gatherings and mingling. But you can still connect, still rejoice, and reflect. I always believed this time of year held special beliefs and a bit of magic. That does not have to change.
So instead of large family gatherings with everyone being in the same place at once, maybe celebrations are broken down into smaller groups at a time—much smaller groups. Weather permitting, maybe dinners and activities are held outdoors this year. And heaters and fire pits can be used in chillier climates, unless MS heat sensitivity is an issue, then the colder temps may be welcome. There’s also the possibility to find community traditions and events still being held in your area this season too. Again, with some changes, but still bringing a sense of festivity and merriment for this time of year.
Virtual connection remains a strong, ongoing theme of 2020, and throughout the holidays it will be more important than ever for many. Still being able to talk to and see one another, even if miles apart, will help keep holiday spirits alive. Whether it’s having virtual game nights and mealtimes, watching holiday movies or reading/telling stories to one another. The holidays can still create happiness and cheer. Especially after what this year has brought. Not celebrating the season would be an added sting that we don’t deserve. Staying connected through the holiday season is what’s going to keep beliefs strong, and joy possible.
We are midway through the year, and what a year 2020 has been so far. We haven’t seen one like it before, and let’s hope the second half of the year brings better things. But each day we are now seeing the world slowly start to open back up. That helps instill hope, I think. Like maybe there’s light at the end of this winding, unpredictable tunnel. And while people are re-entering workplaces, stores are reopening, and beaches are populated again, hopefully safety measures and precautions will help keep people safe. Regardless, it looks like Continue reading →
It’s hard to believe that fall is right around the corner. Where does the time go? I don’t know if it’s the culture of our society that makes time go by even faster with its quick pace, but time sure does fly and change is constant. The change that comes with the start of fall has begun, especially in the form of back-to-school routines for the kiddos.
I do not do well with change but that doesn’t stop it from happening. Life constantly evolves and moves forward. And there are times that change can Continue reading →
September is here! Now let’s hope that it brings with it some cooler temps. Summer was especially cruel around the country this year with multiple heat waves, rain, devastating fires and other challenges. I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’m glad to see it go. But just because it’s September doesn’t mean it’s autumn-like weather just yet either. It’s been Continue reading →
With the holiday season in full swing some individuals may find themselves busy making plans and preparations for this festive time of year. For others this season may represent a time when some extra help is needed to make the holiday special. Financial challenges can make expectations of the holidays a struggle, but it’s important to know that there are resources available that may help support your holiday activities, and therefore lift some of the stress that can accompany these festivities. The following community resources may be able to offer help through the holidays. Be sure to check with the organizations directly about their application requirements and deadlines as many have specific time frames to apply for help.
Salvation Army offices offer seasonal services and holiday assistance programs to help families in need with holiday dinners, toys, and clothing. Search for your local office to inquire about direct programs and services and application deadlines.
The United Way can offer information and referrals for holiday assistance programs in your community.
The Toys for Tots Program provides new, unwrapped toys during the holidays to children in need through community outreach and support efforts.
Catholic Charities Services and other local religious organizations may offer seasonal assistance as well, though these programs can vary based on location. Contact the groups in your area directly to inquire of services available.
Contact the county department of family/social services in your area, as their office may have additional holiday assistance and resources available.
You can also check with local schools in the community that may know of holiday assistance programs for families.
Community food banks may also be able to offer holiday assistance programs in your area during the season.
Again, many community assistance programs have specific application deadlines and requirements in order to receive holiday assistance by a certain time. Be sure to reach out to the resources to see what’s available in your area and how to apply.
So this week marked the start of many students heading back to school and the unofficial ‘end’ of summer with the fall season being just around the corner. This time of year usually generates many nostalgic feelings; how it felt having to go back to school, which was sometimes a drag at first but eventually turned into excitement to learn new things, the change in routine and schedules, and the countdown to the holiday season. Even just the colors and smells of fall have the potential to bring about joyful feelings—it can be a very pretty and festive time of year.
For some people this week may represent new beginnings and changes, for others it may signify an anticipated change of season with teasingly cooler temperatures being just around the bend (hopefully). For others it may just represent a hope for change and new things to come. This particular week and time of year doesn’t necessarily look or mean the same to each person and it doesn’t have to; everyone goes through different things at different times and holds unique perspectives towards it. It’s more about finding what is special or important to you and holding onto that—knowing what feelings are prompted or what memories are beckoned when you experience time and season changes during the year. It’s a chance to create new memories, make adjustments to change, prioritize your needs, and most of all, to self-care—because there is only one you, and you deserve the most that time has to offer.
As we continue to pass through the summer months and find ourselves looking towards a change of season (hopefully soon!), there’s still some time for fun to be had during the remainder of the summer. At times it can be difficult to try to make plans or schedule activities if the uninvited MS decides to rear its head and join in. But there are some last minute ways to try and enjoy the rest of the season, without having to make elaborate plans that MS will try to outdo.
There are times when heat-excessive summer days call for indoor activities, so why not have a game day/night? Getting back to a time where playing board games and cards was all the rage can be fun and nostalgic, and a good way to find some last minute amusement with friends or family. And keeping with the indoor theme, how about a movie night? Gathering together to watch a good flick, even if coordinated last minute, can be relaxing and entertaining. Orchestrating a last minute trip to the movies or visiting a museum or aquarium can also be some fun activities that may not require excessive planning but an opportunity to enjoy events of the season.
Check with community offices and message boards in your area to find some local events being held during the rest of the summer. Concerts, festivals, shows and exhibitions are just some of the local activities your community may offer that you can take advantage of last minute. Sometimes trying to take part in an activity that’s more spur of the moment and last minute can work to your benefit, especially if it catches MS off guard and doesn’t give it the opportunity to invite itself!