8 Holiday Don'ts for Saving My Precious Sanity This Season

Linda Sharps | Dec 3, 2013 Food & Party

Now that Thanksgiving is in our turkey-smeared rearview mirror, the holiday season is in full swing. We can no longer eye-roll the marketing and messaging for starting too early, because like it or not, Christmas is just a month away. It is officially time to begin freaking the eff out.

Well, it is if you're me, anyway. I have a tendency to spend December in a sort of constant pinball TILT mode, panicked by massive to-do lists, increased expenditures, family members who are seriously impossible to shop for, and the nagging fear that I'm not making the holidays special enough because I didn't make any adorable glitter-dusted pinecones or ornament wreaths or felt poinsettia leaves or ANY CRAFTS WHATSOEVER OH GOD WHY AM I SUCH A LOSER.

Anyway. This year, I am determined to make some changes. By Santa's beard, I swear I am NOT going to mentally unravel this December -- and here are my eight steps for retaining my sanity, one Holiday Don't at a time.

Image via jereddowden/Flickr

  • Don't Dwell on Holiday Card-Making Website Photos


    Image via TinyPrints

    Every year I go clicking through the various personalized photo-card designs and every year I despair over the fact that my family photo looks nothing like the gorgeous examples. Unlike the photo card families, we're not perfectly lit, surrounded by dramatic bokeh, wearing beautiful clothes, or adhering to a color theme. Heck, it's a good year if all four of us are even looking at the damn camera. This time around, I resolve to just order my cards and move on instead of wallowing in regret that I didn't hire a professional photographer/magician.

  • Don't Even Look at Pinterest


    Image via Pinterest

    Lots of people can make good use of Pinterest and glean all sorts of inspiration and ideas for decorations and crafts without getting bogged down in a creeping sense of FAIL.

    I am not one of those people.

  • Don't Eat ALL the Things


    Image via afcool83/Flickr

    I love holiday treats, but when I completely swap out every last healthy eating habit for a diet that's comprised entirely of sugar and butter, unpleasant things happen. I get sleepy, cranky, achy, zitty, lazy, and gassy. It's not good for my waistline, but more importantly, it's not good for my mental health.

  • Don't Get Flatlined by the Hard-to-Buy-For


    Image via porcupyne/Flickr

    I have a few folks on my gift list who are REALLY difficult to buy for, and it usually sends me into a complete tailspin. This year, I'm resolving to take deep breaths, think of who they are and what they like, remind myself that they will love whatever I give them because we love each other, and let the stress go.

  • Don't Spend a Bajillion Damn Dollars


    Image via 68751915@N05/Flickr

    Not that I have a bajillion dollars to spend, but my goal this year is to be reasonable with our budget and not wind up overspending for all the reasons it's tempting to overspend during the holidays: relentless marketing, creeping feelings of inadequacy, plain forgetfulness (oops, I already bought something for that person? Well now I have to buy an extra gift for EVERYONE), and plain old Christmas Scope Creep.

  • Don't Get 'Inspired' By Super-Fancy Holiday Recipes


    Image via Martha Stewart

    I am awesome at making a specific number of easy, tried-and-true holiday treats that my family absolutely loves. No reason to get carried away with delusions of baking grandeur, self.


  • Don't Get Pissed at the Elf Hate


    Image via m-i-k-e/Flickr

    My children love our Elf on a Shelf® and they look forward to it every year. This time, I resolve not to let the Elf Grinches with their annual THIS IS WHY THE SHELF ELF IS BANNED IN OUR HOUSE AND YOU SHOULD DO THE SAME blog posts bum me out.


  • Don't Lose Track of What's Important


    Image via Linda Sharps

    Underneath the glitter and gift guides, the holiday nail art tutorials and pinned crafts, it's all about family, love, and gratitude. That's the reason for the season, right there.

christmas holidays

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