Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday survival, Part 1

Here we are in the middle of prime shopping/decorating/socializing/travel time. We may be running on overload, trying to get everything done in time, and hoping to make this the best holiday (or Christmas) ever. 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. Slow down by just 5 mph on the road, and let that car coming out of the parking lot get in front of you. Be generous in little ways -- for instance, carry dollar bills or $5 bills (whatever you can afford) in your coat pocket for panhandlers. You'll make the fellow (or lady) happy, and reap your own emotional rewards.

4. Take care of yourself--eat right, exercise, minimize caffeine, don't drink too much  alcohol, and find at least a half hour per day to do nothing.


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