Monday, December 24, 2007

Downsize the Holidays

Don’t let the Holidays stress you out.

  • Prozac $12
  • Zoloft $86
  • Xanex $4

I actually saw that sign at a pharmacy this year.

That's the way I (we?) USED to do things. Let the stress run my life until I needed pills and smokes and drinks to cope. But, doing things that way resulted in me going to rehab for a Xanex addiction several years ago over Christmas (no kidding) and smoking for 20 years to cope with the stress of life.

Now, I'm learning to eliminate more stress than I can handle. Where I used to spend Christmas buying gifts for everyone on the planet and putting crappy presents no one needs on credit cards that would take me till March 3 years later to pay back - now I simply refuse.

I used to run from the Christmas Eve Communion ceremony from my husband's family does to my Grandma's White Elephant Gift Party to the Playing Santa all night to the Opening Presents on Christmas morning to the In-law Christmas Party for lunch to the Grandma's Christmas Dinner to the falling exhausted into my bed.

No freaking wonder I needed a smoke to keep up the pace!

Yes, I boycotted extended family Christmas giving. I sent out an email far in advance simply stating that we were not participating in gift-giving. Period. I later agreed to participate in a $10 white elephant gift exchange on his side. On my side, my siblings and I agreed to give to one family per year.

I also restructured what I am willing to do as far as party-going. No, I will not go to 3 houses and run myself ragged. Schedule your party on a different day if you'd like us to attend.

Which resulted in a Sunday party at my Grandmother's for a white elephant exchange. A Christmas Eve daytime party at my mother-in-laws for a White Elephant Exchange.

At the last minute my husband wanted to throw in an extra church service.

No, honey, I don't want to attend more events. Too many activities make me cranky and tired and I'm already at my limit.

Christmas is all to ourselves in our new home watching our children play with their new toys. And nearly all of them I bought at garage sales so I need not use a credit card.

I realize it's Christmas Eve and a little too late to be boycotting this year. However, if you're looking at that sign and thinking you'd like a Xanex or a smoke, then after the meals are eaten and the presents opened is a wonderful time to have a chat about downsizing next year's Christmas gifting and events.

Learning to say no is a great way to reduce stress.

I hope you have a lovely smoke-free Holiday.


Brandie said...

Ha! Yeah, I can't boycott this year. Perhaps next. Either way, good for you!

Mz Diva said...

I can so relate! Running around like a lunatic lends itself to smoking cigarettes and/or using other substances! Fortunatly, I have been clean and sober from the "other" stress relievers for many years which is why I think kicking the final nicotine habit has been so hard to do. I also realized that I needed to do things differnetly tbis year and REDUCE stress instead of coping with it. I have not been to the mall this Christmas season and bought a few handcrafted sentimental type of gifts for close friends and family. I did not go into credit card debt doing it. I am giving you a big high five for your "Downsizing Christmas" blog! Have a great holiday with your family and thanks for all the support you give people. Thats a gift you can't put a price on.

Tracee said...

Peace to you too Diva.

Peace to all my Quitters and Non-smokers!

Anonymous said...

I did the downsize thing a few years ago. What a great way to relieve the pressure. We only buy gifts for the grandkids. I tell everyone not to buy us gifts. And we all go to one house on one day.We've made it more of a point to just spend time with the people that are special and important to us through out the year, not just trying to cram it all in in a few short days in December.This plan might not work for everyone, but it's worth a try. Anyway, with all the commercialization of Christmas, we feel it's more important to remember why we celebrate it!
Hope everyone has a wonderful, smoke free, and hopefully stress free holiday season.

Tracee said...

It's such a relief isn't it Mary? Glad you've enjoyed your Christmases more.