Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sunday Musings: December 14 2014

Morning All Musers!

Happy Holidays to all. This is the time for so many celebrations. A time of fun and warm feelings. A time for looking back and looking forward. And for some, a time of great sadness.

But as I read the words of my friends and look to those around me, I know it is also a time of wishes and hope.

Strange how this time is also one of the craziest, most stressful times of the year as well.


How do you overcome/handle the stresses of the holiday season?

To make it easier on everyone' s pockets our family only spend between £20 and £25 on each of my eleven grandchildren 39;s Christmas presents and on three of their birthdays on the 12th, 19th and 26th December. If the older children want money to put towards something more expensive I give them £20 plus a small gift to open on Christmas Day. I give the adults small but carefully chosen inexpensive presents.

To avoid a last minute rush I try to finish my Christmas shopping by the 31st November and then wrap up the presents when I have time.

Now that my children are adults with their own families I no longer have to cook Christmas lunch. I visit everyone on Christmas Day to hand out gifts and eat at one of their houses.

During the school holidays I invite each family to lunch so that we can share quality time over an extended festive season.

The Christmas season.

A few years ago our family decided not to purchase gifts, but to give money to charity, or a few charities. I give money to The Healing Cycle. It's an organization that assists hospices in Ontario. I support palliative care.

The kids still get gifts. Little people receive a small gift to open and money to put toward their education.  Starving students and those just starting out receive practical things they need. 

Christmas is all about family and friends getting together. 

DAWN KNOX, author

Christmas is usually fairly stress free in our household, so I don't need to de-stress. However a few years ago, I realised how stressful I found the food shopping in the supermarket, a few days before Christmas. From the parking, to the queuing, everyone seemed to be so fraught - with determined 'get out of my way, I'm Christmas shopping' looks on their faces. So, one Christmas, I made a special effort to keep relaxed and to determine exactly what was causing the stress. There seemed to be a general air of panic although I couldn't pin point why and it also seemed to be infectious, so even when I wasn't in a hurry or needed a specific item, I was starting to behave as if I did.

My solution is now to allow plenty of time when I need to go in the supermarket, so I'm not in a hurry. Then, I give way to people if they are in a hurry to push in front of me and I SMILE (well, they're going to push in front anyway, so I might as well give way!). I smile at everyone and behave as if it really is Christmas. For some reason it seems to defuse things. I'm not really sure if anyone else notices, to be honest, but when I come out of the supermarket, I'm quite relaxed!


How to reduce stress over the Holidays? It's a good question, and I guess I draw my attention toward the 'reason for the season' axiom (be it Christmas, Hannukah or whatever). So I focus on family. My sons' homes are in the same city, so we have brunches on Saturdays, decorate each others' homes, bake specific cookies tailor-made for daughters-in-law, offer to babysit on shopping evenings. But the other thing I do is understand a) that I cannot accomplish everything, and b) don't beat myself up if my writing/editing slows a bit.

Oh! And I make 'sip of wine by the fireplace every now and then' a mandatory event for my wife and me.

These little things seem to work.

Oh, can I write about Holiday Stresses! The amount of extra things we add in to our already crazy writer schedules is nuts. Is my Christmas letter written yet? Nope. Have I purchased all the gifts? No. Fortunately, the family draws for gifts now, and I do have  a gift for one of my SsIL. And this morning, DH said he really needed a new white shirt! So I can handle that. And I ordered Highlights for all three grands. So maybe I’m not too bad off. :)

To combat all the sadness of the world (the homeless, starving, enslaved, hurting people), which for me this holiday magnifies, I have to take the Starfish example. I look at the individual differences I can make: the Angel Tree purchases and the various charities my husband and I contribute to. It’s not everything, but it’s something. Do you give special gifts at this time of year?

Thanks for joining us and see you next week!
 If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman  at

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