Spelling-Out your Holiday TO-DO List.

HHave a Plan. Make a list and check it twice. This mantra couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to tackling the holiday gift giving season. Write down everyone you’re going to buy for (and I do mean everyone.) By adhering to THE LIST, you will avoid standing smack dab in the middle of a mall with carolers, screaming children and hurried shoppers, scratching your head and asking yourself: Who’s gift is this going to be?? *Feel free to also make additional lists for party prep, holiday cards and holiday home decor. Sorry if  this is starting to sound like a “tweet” from Martha Stewart.

O-When in doubt take you’re shopping ONLINE. It’s easy, efficient and goodness knows a lot less taxing on your body and your patience. PLUS …so many sites are now including free shipping and returns. Pay attention to each sites policies when it comes to returns and additional fees for restocking.

L- Look for the HAPPY in holiday. Yes you are rushed and multi-tasking to the nth degree but do your best to keep yourself in the true “spirit” of the season. When you find yourself stressed, overwhelmed or exhausted. Stop for a minute…look around and be grateful for all that you have.

*(If you find that your finances have taken a plunge and you can’t afford gifts, remember it’s always  the thought that counts. Give of yourself. (A task done for someone, an offering of something you made yourself, a job accomplished with no payment in return). Kind gestures will not only fill the gift quotient but will most likely be cherished and remembered long after the season is over.

I-Be Inspired. The season is filled with inspiration. There is holiday music, decor, food, do it yourself projects,parties,activities… they’re all part of this joyful season. Be inspired to try a new recipe, switch up the decor in a room, re-work your old standby holiday outfit, get your ice skates out of storage and get to a rink, try a new hairdo…anything…something. Mix it up! Do something new and different. Forget your fear and embrace the joy of the day.

D Don’t I repeat don’t have delusions of grandeur!  Let go of any thought that you can do everything. You bake EVERYTHING from scratch, you make all your own presents and your wrapping paper. Your centerpieces on the table are remnants of greenery from your yard that you have woven together, spray painted and added sparkle…and your holiday parties are stocked with gourmet treats that you prepared this morning. This only happens in magazine photo shoots and at Martha Stewart’s house (with her TEAM of experts in tow.) When in doubt “let it go” and do the best you can with what you’ve got.

A-Be Appreciative. When your Aunt Mary (whom you just adore but realize that her taste is stuck somewhere in the 80’s) presents you with another red holiday sweater with appliques on it. THANK HER. You have got to give her kudos for trying and repeat silently to yourself “It’s the thought that counts.” Remember…the spirit in which the gift was given. You might dislike the item but Aunt Mary thought she was giving you a little piece of heaven. (P.S. Remember there is always eBay)

Y-Put the Y back in you. With all the giving of presents,holiday parties and oodles of  preparation make sure you squeeze out a little time each day for you. Giving should be a gesture that lifts your spirit but sometimes in an effort to beat the Holiday Rush you put yourself last on the list of things to take care of.  You can do something as simple as sitting and listening to a Christmas CD, sip a cup of hot cocoa,take a long bubble bath or just  close  your eyes and take a deep breath.  Do something nice for you. It’s not termed the “Holidays” for nothing!  

SSeize the Season! There is only one holiday season each and every year. It lasts approximately 35 days depending on how late Thanksgiving is placed on the calendar). Before you can blink, its over and we are knee deep packing everything away for the next year. As best as you can…LIVE in the MOMENT: Enjoy, Observe, Celebrate and remember that the greatest gift you can give yourself and those around you is to be truly PRESENT. Happy Holidays!

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