Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stress Free Tips for the Holidays

By S. Derrickson Moore LAS CRUCES — Stressed out yet? You’ve made it throught most of the fall costume occasions, nearly all of the state centennial commemorations and a big chunk of FTFS — Full-Tilt Fiesta Season. But for many of us, the best (or worst, depending on your attitude) is still to come: Thanksgiving. Black Friday. And a whole month of holiday, family, shopping and fiesta occasions. School and community pageants. Benefits and bazaars. Reunions. Decorating. Entertaining. Updating the card list. There’s gifting and all that entails: shopping for or making presents. Wrapping. Packing. Sending. Getting together for gift exchanges. Recently, I was talking with friends and family about things that get easier with time. Fiestas never seem to fall within that category. I know. I’m a pro. I’ve written about, organized, invented and coordinated festivals for most of my life, which seems to stretch back to the Jurassic Age, this time of year. And whether I was planning a week-long bash for thousands in the capital of arrogance and greed (which shall remain unnamed) or a sit-down dinner in my hometown querencia for a small group of motley amigos, many of the same survival principles apply. Here are some of my favorite tips for making the season merrier and brighter: • Plan ahead: No matter how much you like to think of yourself as a carefree, spontaneous sort, this is not the time to go rogue. Do as much as you can as far ahead of time as possible. Double recipes and freeze half. Stock up at holiday bake sales and bazaars. Freeze goodies and be prepared to thaw for surprise guests and gifting occasions. • Eliminate: Maybe you don’t have to give gifts to everybody on your list. Talk it over with your friends who have everything. Maybe they would be just as relieved as you are to cut it out. Especially if you offer a: • Substitute: Instead of a gift exchange, suggest an informal lunch, brunch or breakfast. Instead of a home party, get together at your favorite restaurant. Let someone else do the work and cleanup, which brings us to: • Delegate: If you’re hosting a big holiday meal or a party at the office and people offer to help, say “Yes!” Accept food offerings, decorating and clean-up help. • R & R: Plan some alone time, for yourself and with close friends and your immediate family. Don’t skip workouts. Fit some exercise into your holiday routine. Walk, rather than drive, through decorated neighborhoods. Get to the mall 30 minutes or an hour before stores open and stroll briskly. • Have a backup plan: That idyllic outdoor/mountain top Christmas event that you agreed to host because it almost never rains or snows here may surprise you with the weather bomb surprise of the year. Be prepared to move inside. • K.I.S.S.: No mistletoe involved here (though it can’t hurt). We’re talking Keep it Simple Stupid philosophies. This time of year, people are more apt to remember warm-hearted feelings than intricate frills and painstaking details you agonized over. • Hugs and humor: can ease all kinds of stressful situations. Kids or grandkids acting up? Entice them with a hug into a time out and some quieter activity. In-laws and outlaws insist on sharing their irritating political views and instigating family feuds? Download some funny, politically neutral jokes and when people start laughing, switch the subject. • Blooper fiestas: With the right attitude, even minor holiday “disasters” can be fun. Turkey burned to a crisp? Order a pizza. Faux or real tree looking mangy? Twist and prune to exaggerate its non-traditional personality even more and refer to it as a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. In the family history, the bloopers are likely to be remembered more fondly than attempts at perfection. • Sing: Even if you think you can’t. Even if you don’t feel like it. Start a carol at home or the office. You might be surprised at the talent that will be revealed. • Spirit: Remember what the season is all about. As Tenny Hale said, “When you feel most like giving out, give outward.” It always works. Always. Happy holidays. S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.

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