Christmas is already sprouting up around town, and I’m already feeling pressure. This is a time of year when I want everything to be perfect! From my blue and silver themed decorations to my “little” holiday party of 30-35 close friends. I’m already planning the Christmas dinner menu!
When my kids were little, we did something each day in December – write out Christmas cards, make wrapping paper, visit the lights at the Mormon Temple. I figured if I took a bite each day, the month would go faster for the kids and I’d make progress on my lengthy list of must-dos – buy the presents, wrap the presents, decorate the house.
We enjoyed Christmas caroling with friends and we’d help wrap gifts that were donated to families in need. I packed a lot of Christmas in!
I used a couple of markers along the way –
December 6, The Feast of St. Nick from Germany. The kids put their shoes in the hall and miraculously, the shoes would be filled with candies and little toys in the morning!
December 13 The Feast of St. Lucia. The oldest daughter wears a white gown and a candle wreath on her head while serving a breakfast of raisin buns. We adapted the Swedish tradition and had donuts in bed.
I’m not above borrowing another culture’s tradition just because I’m Italian!
Of course, Christmas Eve is our big Italian tradition and we still have the Feast of the Seven Fishes. No one knows exactly how that originated but Italy is surrounded by water so fishing was a mainstay.
By the time Christmas rolls around, I am usually exhausted!
Although I have fewer obligations now that my kids are grown with kids of their own, the holidays can still be a stressful time. Take everything you do normally every day and then amp it up to fit in Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.
And hope that everyone in the family shows up and gets along!
So I made a list. (I’m a list maker.) I asked, “What can I do to take care of myself?”
It’s not a comprehensive list. Every item may not resonate with you. It is a list that can be used any time of the year and probably should be! We tend to put ourselves on the back burner taking care of everyone else’s needs while ours are put way down on the list.
So STOP. Just for a moment, an hour, an evening. I encourage you to make your own list and use mine as a place to jump start.
These suggestions are so little, such minor adjustments as to almost make them unimportant. However, taking time for those tiny insignificant things adds up to luxury – without much added expense. It’s all about “What do I need to feel pampered?” What do I need to love myself enough to make the small changes in my daily life?
- Take “exquisite” care of myself, especially under stress.
- Wrap myself in a cozy fleece robe.
- Create a toasty atmosphere with candles in my favorite scents
- Enjoy a French-press cup of coffee sitting on my comfy couch looking out my picture window watching the hummingbirds dip into the feeder.
- Dream! Let my mind wander and flow about vacation plans, decorating ideas, writing ideas, anything.
- Affirm myself through positive self-talk. “I am a svelte size 6.”
- Enjoy a cup of peppermint or chamomile tea while reading a book.
- Put on fresh bed linens in a bold and happy pattern with the softest thread count.
- Check my bank account balance and pay my bills before the due date. So freeing!
- Sit when I need to sit. Nap when I need to nap. Pray when I need to pray.
- Lay out a fresh fluffy towel daily in my bathroom.
- Place a pretty box of the softest tissues next to my bed.
- Sweep under the beds, in the corners, behind the bureaus for a clear cobweb-free space. Ahhh. (Or hire someone to do it!)
- S-t-r-e-t-c-h. Do sun salutations in the morning. Treat my body gently and lovingly.
- Write my thoughts and feelings on paper. Let them tumble out to release any blocks and let my emotional energy flow.
Maybe you will take better care of yourself than I did and actually feel well enough on Christmas day to enjoy it!
And maybe you’ll carry these pampering ideas into the New Year! Wouldn’t that be lovely?
Now do me a favor and leave a comment below of your own way of taking care of yourself!
The Italian Grandmama!