Simplify: There is no such thing as perfect!

Stress is not festive it’s depleting: Honor the traditions that bring you comfort and joy then give yourself permission to let go of the rest. Delegate…encourage family and friends to get involved. Get your endorphins going…walk, dance, take a yoga or spin class, play the Wii as a family. Make time for self care while caring for others this holiday season. You have nothing to give if you are on empty.

Be planful leading up to the holidays. Give yourself time to plan so that you are not overwhelmed and rushing. Create lists in categories that organize and simplify the to do’s of the holidays:

  • Food: Love to make desserts but not the holiday dinner? Do what you love, have others do what they love, order in the rest. If you enjoy cooking, cook. If you do not enjoy cooking give yourself permission to order in, hire a caterer, or make it a potluck.

  • Decorations: Use keepsake decorations, objects found in nature, photographs of family and friends. Meaning over extravagance. Unless you love to go all out….if so, enjoy!

  • Gifts: Instead of spending hours trying to find the latest and greatest gift for the adults on your list consider cost effective and fun: Invite family and friends to participate in Favorite Things: everyone can give a favorite recipe with a sample, a favorite thing enjoyed this year for $10 or under, a favorite holiday drink with a sample….Favorite Things elicits fun, connection, and insight into to those you spend the holidays with.

Another option to simplify gift giving is philanthropy. Send an email to family and friends that in lieu of gifts this year everyone can make a donation to a charity that reflects what you know is important to each other. If your loved one is an avid reader donate a book in their name to the public library. If your loved one is an animal lover make a donation in their name to the Humane Society. If your loved one is a foodie make a donation to the Foodbank in their name. At the celebration each person can share where donations were made, all will know that this year lives were enhanced in their name.

Engage 5 senses in preparing for holidays:

  • Smell: Light candles, purchase fragrant flowers, or create a bowl of seasonal spices (cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, pine) that bring you comfort and joy.

  • Sound: listen to music or nature sounds that relax you and make you feel happy. If you are feeling really stressed go to and find a meditation or guided imagery to help you through.

  • Touch: wear comfortable clothes, a cozy soft sweater, fabrics that bring comfort, ease or make you feel special.

  • Sight: Decorate your home with meaning: choose decor that makes you smile, that transports you to times of peace and joy (Flowers, pictures, keepsake decorations, objects from nature such as beautiful rocks or clippings from evergreens, all inexpensive ways to bring meaning and beauty to the holidays). Create a visual space that connects you what the holidays mean to you.

  • Taste: Flavors of the holidays are often tied to memories. Prepare the foods that fill your soul. There is no must make menu to follow. Make or bring in what you love.

Manage expectations of yourself and others. Try to connect to compassion over judgement. Create a mantra such as, I wish you well, then smile knowing that you are okay, you are honoring yourself and the spirit of the holiday season.