Molly Hall About.com
Thriving for the Holidays
Molly Hall, About.com
The holidays are a mixed bag for a lot of people. Plan ahead with strategies to maximize the fun and minimize the non-fun.
•You get moody when you're "sitting around," so make a visit with relatives short and sweet.
•Take your bike with you, and escape to explore.
•If you're visiting relatives, check out a local novelty attraction.
•Bring mental stimulation for downtimes, like something you've always wanted to read.
•Be a champion and volunteer at a soup kitchen.
•Take along challenging games like chess, backgammon, cards.
•Go to the gym where you are, and work out!
•Try preparing a dish with unusual spices.
•Explore the landscape where you are, by getting lost in the woods.
•Take many long afternoon naps.
•Schedule a holiday massage.
•Experiment with aromas, and use candles to set a warm mood.
•Make sure you get lots of hugs from the right people.
•Be careful not to overeat. Take smaller portions of everything.
•Tweet and update your status on Facebook with witty observations about your crazy family.
•Stock up on reading material, especially stimulating magazines.
•Watch your nerves...don't overdo it on the caffeine and other stimulants.
•Send "postcards from the edge" with witty observations of familial quirks.
•Have in place a long distance phone buddy (or phone tree).
•See if you can lead repressed relatives into conversations on bizarre topics.
•Spend time collecting family memories from the old timers.
•Try lavender and healing oils for a soothing bath.
•Start a new holiday tradition that makes your eyes water.
•Look up an old friend and catch up.
•Try keeping a gathering small -- for you, more is not always the merrier.
•Listen to the soothing sounds of the ocean, or travel on or near water.
•Have on hand a few party outfits that you feel hot in.
•One warm colored scarf or hat brightens your look.
•Use candles to set the mood.
•Keep it playful, and look to the kids for inspiration.
•Encourage the creativity in others, and make time for your own.
•Make or buy little tokens for each person -- unexpected gifts start things off on a high note.
•Try to remember a favorite holiday treat or activity as a kid, and do that.
•Make sure you stick to your healthy routine, with plenty of 'me' time.
•Purify at the holidays, in the sauna and by drinking lots of water and cleansing warm teas.
•Be generous (and stay positive) with your ideas for family self-improvement.
•Find ways to keep it organic and simple.
•Make holiday presents instead of buying them this year.
•Watch your nerves: go on long walks alone, retire early for solitude.
•Develop a signature holiday aesthetic for this season.
•Be curious and resolve to listen to others.
•Consider co-hosting a holiday bash with someone whose company you enjoy.
•Share your gifts for mediation, but don't pressure yourself to re-build fragile alliances in the family.
•Seek out holiday music or decorations that lift your spirits, and appeal to your discrimination tastes.
•Brief, meaningful visits with relatives keep things from getting ugly.
•Make sure you've got your own space to retreat to.
•Think twice before reconnecting with that sexy girl or boy next door.
•Don't stir up trouble that isn't there -- keep the holidays light and gay.
•Try not to take anything too personally...family is there to push your buttons!
•Get lots of rest and eat foods that make you feel healthy
•Take breaks from the house to move it, move it....and let everyone know you're "in training."
•Opt for a travel adventure over the holidays.
•Some holiday interpretive dancing (privately or with an audience) could lift your spirits.
•Surround yourself with funny things, maybe having a comedy film festival with friends.
•Try having an exotic-themed holiday, with food from another culture.
•Keep a pile of intellectually stimulating books on hand.
•Research an ancestral tradition, and make it uniquely your own.
•Spend plenty of time resting, drawing nourishment from your season of hibernation.
•Draw out family history from relatives, and follow it up with readings on the era/place/culture.
•Try your hand at an heirloom holiday recipe.
•Take a true break from work, and just revel in the holiday spirit.
•Try corralling friends or family to volunteer as a group for a local charity.
•Bring along an obsession to occupy your mind, and escape with.
•Revel in being the "odd one" in the bunch.
•Scare away sentimental relatives by saying something shocking.
•Have a very experimental holiday, with unusual or futuristic themes.
•Bring plenty of reading material and your laptop.
•Bring some new imagination candy along for nourishment, such as movies, books on audio, and music.
•In very negative situations, burn some sage to discreetly clean bad vibes from your aura.
•When the familial cacophony is too much, go for a long walk in nature.
•Try carrying a healing stone like rose quartz or kyanite in your pocket.
•Keep reminding yourself -- you're not responsible for the happiness of others.