Even if your family doesn’t (quite) live in Downton Abbey, they might resemble the aristocratic Crawleys, as the holidays can be a tricky time. You, too, might have an eccentric grandmother with trenchant views, a brother-in-law with more radical political views than your father, and sibling rivalry over extravagant gift-giving/receiving.
Stephanie Collins Caven, Director of Communications at Nano (and a Downton devotee), gave us her tips on surviving holiday stresses, with a countdown from early November (hint: start planning early).
Stephanie and Andrew got married in their hometown of Austin, Texas (and Nano’s HQ) last September. So they’re learning how to create their own holiday rituals as a couple, while also keeping their two families happy.
- One Month before: If you’re in a relationship, and one family lives a plane ride away, discuss whether you’re going there for Thanksgiving or Christmas (or you’re making a new ritual and running off to South Beach this year), book flights and let both families know. Be loving, but firm. You’re building a new life together and need to set boundaries. You can’t please everyone, it’s just not possible, but you can help by planning early.
Gifts: Because choosing thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list can be overwhelming, Stephanie suggests sticking to a budget and choosing an overall theme (last year hers was “British”) to make gift-giving simpler, elegant and altogether less stressful.
|SEE ALSO: The Mayo Clinic also has useful insights here including: Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts; Donate to a charity in someone’s name; Give homemade gifts and Start a family gift exchange.|
- Thanksgiving Morning: It’s going to be a long day of sitting at that table and mainlining carbs. To counterbalance this, Stephanie and Andrew have signed up again for the “Turkey Trot”, a cherished Austin, Texas Thanksgiving tradition, 5K run/walk, now in its 29th year, which donates millions to help people in need. Is there a “fun run” with a good cause near you? Sign up now! Your endorphins will zing and give you a glow all day.
Later. Ugh. 6 PM Stress? Take yourself out of the situation, do some deep breaths, find a mirror, look into your eyes and say: “Yes, they’re crazy people, but they’re my crazy people,” and smile. You’ve got this.
- Happy New Year! After scrolling through your IG feed of everyone in their matching Christmas PJs, and congratulating yourself for surviving another holiday season, why not take a quiet walk around the neighborhood by yourself? Bundle up with a warm scarf and hat, keep your phone in your pocket, look at the world around you, have a conversation with yourself – what do you want to achieve this year? What do you want to improve on? Let go of? Set your intention. Be gentle. Be hopeful.
|SEE ALSO: The Mayo Clinic has many helpful suggestions here, including Acknowledge your feelings (You can’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season); Reach out (Volunteering your time to help others also is an excellent way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships); Be realistic The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year); Set aside differences (Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to your expectations).|
Happy Holidays from Nano! Safe travels wherever you roam.