Reducing Christmas Grinchy-ness

    Christmas is my favourite time of year.  I absolutely LOVE the lights, the snow, the tree, the traditions, the coziness.  Literally every aspect of Christmas just brings so much joy to my heart (even when Costco brings their Christmas decorations in in the summer!). But like any of the big holidays, the normal life hustle bustle gets amplified and it can get a little stressful.  So what do you do to actually be able to enjoy the holiday season?  Well, here are some helpful tips to reduce that grinchy-ness:

1. Decorate in November. 

    Not the end of November.  The beginning of November.  If your like us, the first weekend.  Putting up the decorations, especially the tree, is A LOT of work.  Tedious really.  So why wait until December when your schedule is crazy, you’ve got last minute shopping to do, and god knows you still have the million goodies to bake?!  For us, December is busy.  Already this year we have 2 out of the 4 weekends booked and that doesn't even include any of the family gatherings or any of the gatherings we hope to host.  On top of all the social events, I actually look forward to sitting at home, watching TV with the Christmas tree all lit up.  But when can anyone do that in December?! If you decorate in November though, you have an entire month to actually enjoy the festive atmosphere. (NOTE: Just because we decorate early, doesn't mean we forget about Remembrance Day.  It's simply to make our lives easier.)  

2. Shop early and wrap everything

    I don’t know about you, but wrapping gifts is fun for about 2 presents and then I’m over it.  So don’t leave everything until Christmas Eve and be up all night wrapping.  Shop. Wrap Immediately. And store away.  Trust me you’ll thank me later when you can actually enjoy Christmas Eve with your family AND have all your Christmas presents wrapped nice and cute (because we all know after the first perfect wrap, the rest look like hell).

3. Get into the spirit

    The reason I love Christmas so much, isn’t because of all the materialistic non-essential crap, it’s because to us Christmas means celebrating the little things.  We make more of a conscious effort to spend time together.  We do things that we don’t normally do and it’s fun and exciting.  Some ways we get into the Christmas spirit are decorating the house (inside and lights outside), drive around looking at Christmas lights, go ice skating, listen to Christmas music, and watch Christmas movies.  We start this right in November once the tree and everything is up so we have the time to do all the stuff we love.  Getting into the spirit really takes the monotony out of all the tasks, making it less stressful.

4. Make Traditions

   Traditions are the best.  Whether you have kids or don’t, traditions are the things that you look forward to every year.  If you don’t have any traditions, have the conversation and start this year!  What do you remember from your childhood?  Create new ones.  Have fun with it.  Having Baby Bird this year, we are super excited to start some new family traditions.  A few of the ones we want to do are ice skating, tobogganing, Christmas movies on weekends, holiday baking, and cinnamon buns and pyjamas on Christmas morning.  Having specific things to look forward too will boost your mood and give you motivation to get through the Christmas crazies.  It will also allow you to plan ahead for future years and be super efficient, making it easier with each year.

5. Do it for you

   Some of the stress associated with Christmas is the “keep up with the Jones’” mentality.  As much as you don't want to admit it’s there, it is.  Personally, I think the majority of the holiday blues is linked to pushing personal expectations onto others.  For example, you buy your husband an incredible gift and you expect something equal or better in quality.  Or, you host a holiday party wanting to show off your house and cute Christmas baking, but feel deflated after because the appreciation didn’t seem to be there or at least not to the level you were expecting.  Instead of getting into this nasty cycle, avoid it all together and do Christmas for you.  Not for your husband, not for your kids, not for your friends or family.  Give because you want to give.  Bake because you want to bake.  Host a party because you want to share your love with those who are important to you.  

    Hopefully these tips help you enjoy the holidays this season.  I decorated today and Papa Bird and I are in the full swing of the Christmas spirit.  Even Baby Bird was fascinated by the lights on the tree.  Let me know if you have any other useful tips to avoid the holiday craziness, in the comments below!  I’m always looking to improve my game!

- Mama Bird