Thanksgiving weekend segues into prime shopping/decorating/socializing/travel time. We all run on overload for the next few weeks. How to avoid letting it overwhelm us? Here are a few ideas.
1. Give yourself a spending budget and stick to it. You don't have to get anal about it and make a list of how much you'll spend on each gift, decoration, party, etc. But do have an overall idea of what you can afford to spend this season so that the January bills don't land you in the dumps, emotionally as well as financially.
2. Don't expect too much from the holidays. Your family will probably not solve all its issues; peace on earth (or even in your household) probably won't come to pass. The TV ads showing blissful family reunions are just marketing--not what our real lives are or need to be.
3. Practice patience, kindness and understanding. You can become a little bit of Christmas cheer by cutting the other guys some slack. Make the effort--you'll reap emotional rewards.
4. Take care of yourself--eat right, exercise, minimize caffeine, don't drink too much (despite what my little clip-art above says), and find at least a half hour per day to do nothing.
My day job is college professor -- of mass communication and journalism, at the University of Cincinnati. I've probably got a few more years to go, and it's a good gig. Love to travel, cook, dine out, and work out.