Can we make it? I *know* we can!

Hanukkah? CHECK!

People, I know youre busy.

In honor of that Im trying to keep it terse today.


Last minute.

For coming down from Hanukkah Hysteria, gearing up for Christmas chaos & prepping for 2013.

(Please to add your tip and suggestions in the comments. I could so use me more…)


  • Have low expectations. This may sound negative, but it works. Low expectations (or more aptly put realistic) place less pressure on everyone! Aim for an enjoyable holiday rather than hoping for unmitigated rapture. Choose to be content with a nice day, good friends/family and a few laughs. If things turn out to be better than you’d anticipated call it a bonus.
  • Delegate.  Your year to host? Dont be a superhero—ask for help before and after the meal.  Dont end up tiredtired over the holidays as a result of feeling resentful & unappreciated. Even the littlest family members can help in some fashion and, as a result, everyone will feel more a part of the celebration.
  • Make time for what makes you good tired. Take a walk to recharge, take advantage of visiting relatives who might wanna babysit (for free!) & connect with your partner/spouse. Dont let the holiday hecticness make you too tired to take care of YOU.
  • Fiber. Yep, I said it. Stay regular. Feel better all around. ’nuff said.
  • Dont compete.  Stop yourself from being sucked into what others are receiving/doing/having this season. Let’s challenge each other–the whole Healthy Living Tribe–to see who can be the least competitive from our decorations to our fancy dinners to our array of gifts.  Remember, we are AVIS up here in MISFIT-LAND and proud of it. This holiday season let’s all be number two.
  • Utilize relaxation techniques. Meditate.  Try new deep breathing techniques and focus on harnessing the power of breath to diminish anxiety & tension. Visualization also lessens frazzle.  Focus on the calm to carry you through the season.
  • Limit drinking. I know Im a wet blanket here, but the more you indulge, the more likely you are to overeat, wake up with a hangover, or blurt out what you think of your great aunt’s new young boyfriend.
  • Plan a treat for after the holidays.  Whether it’s a reward for sticking to your workout plan or a tidbit for making it though Christmas dinner without screaming at your mother––pre-plan something to which you can look forwardIf need be make this treat your mantra. Nothing makes pie you dont really love FAR less alluring than knowing you have a spa day scheduled should you resist.


And really.

Just remember, as Vince Vaughn says in the piece of cinematic wonderment which is Four Christmases: you cant spell families without the lies**.


Now you.

GOT TIPS? ——> GO!!



**Nope. I have absolutely no real point with that quote. V-squared just makes me laugh. Hard. Which is calming, relaxing and zen-making,


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  1. says

    It’s our turn to host this year, and the family stay for 3 days. The first time I tried to do everything myself. Now as well as everyone bringing food they all help clean up. I put jobs into a hat: wash the glasses, put all the wrapping paper into the recycling bin, stack the dishwasher etc. Everyone gets one job that shouldn’t take more than 10 mins. And I don’t spend 3 hours cleaning up after each meal before starting on the next one.

    And we are all going to see The Hobbit on Boxing Day!

  2. says

    I LOVE the tip about not competing!! I feel like everyone wants their tree to be the biggest, with the most color coordinated ribbons. I’m always thinking about all the people I have to ‘impress’ this season. I think I’m going to go for number 2- love it.

  3. Runner Girl says

    I, too, love the don’t compete tip.
    Everything does not need to be a competition.
    I am hading to watch the GOOD TIRED video.

  4. Helen says

    I love Vince Vaughn and that film, too.
    I’ve discovered having realistic expectations changes everything for me for the better.

  5. says

    It’s been a hustle bustle week getting things done. We take it as a series of short sprints so that it doesn’t get overwhelming. Just tackle one task or too a day and it will all get done.

  6. says

    I am all for the fun and easing up on expectations…well, except for the gingerbread house throwdown. I have high expectations for that event. 😉

  7. says

    I love this – especially the part about “good tired.” It’s so important to differentiate stress exhaustion and just good ol’ warm-n’-fuzzy tired.

  8. says

    Hugs. Lots of hugs.

    Remember to stop at least a couple of times a day and think about something you are grateful for, some piece of luck, some bit of enjoyment you can just be glad about.

    Only do the holiday “traditions” that make you smile. If it has a bad memory attached, get rid of it!

    If i may quote the Book of Proverbs here, because i think the wisdom of Solomon applies:

    “Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fatted calf with hatred.” Proverbs 15:17

    “Better a dry crust with peace and quietness than a feast in a house full of strife.” Proverbs 17:1

  9. says

    GET TO THE GYM!! (or get your sweat on somehow) Working out keeps me sane and reminds me of my goals and let’s me work off all my extra indulgences that I so very much enjoy this time of year!

  10. says

    LOVE!! That low expectations.. I know you might not like me for saying this BUT I tend to do this in general because if good things happen – all the better & I am not as disappointed.

    As for don’t compete.. we are so dang “lack of money” right now that we really can’t even do anything & hard when you want to give & especially to family & grandkids but we have had a few years of this & it does take us back to when it was not all bout commercialization & not the real meaning behind it all.

    I am with ya on the rest too! I don’t drink anyway & I always plan treats year round! 😉

    I really need to do that meditation thing! :)

    Great posy & HUGE HUGS!!!!! Love the pic!

  11. says

    “unmitigated rapture” Ha! Love it.

    The competition thing is so hard. Always and especially around the holidays. I feel like I am always working on that and stopping myself from comparing myself, my life to others.

    I try not to slack on the exercise between Thanksgiving and NYE. Keeping up with the running lets me feel normal amid the chaos!

  12. Miz says

    OH I like that concept, Kat. I tend only to pray for others during the day when asked or if we hear/see emergency vehicles on the road.
    We tend to do it all at night.
    I think your way/approach could bring more calm to my next few weeks…

  13. says

    Great list and so important right now. I’m going to add let go of the guilt if you miss something. If you’re too tired to make a party, skip it. Don’t look back.

  14. says

    Check your thoughts! When we under­stand that it’s the way we think, and not exter­nal things or cir­cum­stances, that drive our feel­ings and behav­ior, it becomes simpler (although not necessarily easier) to not just “get through,” but enjoy :-)

  15. says

    I actually really like the low expectations one. It keeps you sane and makes everyone happy if they share in that way of thinking. Remembering that the holidays are supposed to be about love and joy, even for onesself, is a great foundation for actually reaching those ideals. I hope you’re enjoying time with your family these days! I love the little notes here!

  16. says

    Like the list – for me it’s all in the mindset. My Dad is coming to stay with us, and he’s a great guest, so other than a crazy day with my awesome brother and his really frustrating wife (I’m afraid there will absolutely have to be wine to survive it), the rest should be mellow.
    Having finished grad school I’m wallowing in the free time and my only goal is to relax this holiday season. Obligations are made, cookies are baked and my family is pretty mellow overall. We’re even doing appetizers instead of a big meal at the in-laws to reduce the stress and just relax and visit for the day we spend with them. I’m really looking forward to it. My poor husband has to work a lot, but I will make up for him by relaxing for both of us :)
    All is well :)

  17. says

    Mmmm, spa day. My favorite tip.

    Seriously, delegating is huge. This year I delegated the whole hosting thing. We’re visiting others for Christmas and I love it.

  18. says

    I love the idea of lowering expectations. My husband refers to my hopes for family holidays as ‘Norman Rockwellian expectations’. And who can live up to that?

    I would also add, don’t dwell on past years’ misfortunes. Yes, we all remember the year that I added too much milk to the mashed potatoes and the time that grandma forgot to pack the kids’ presents and the year that grandma and grandpa got into a fight and wanted to fly home… Let by-gones be by-gones…

  19. says

    agree 100% with low expectations. of yourself and ESPECIALLY of family members.

    my favorite movie line is from Shrek the Halls…Donkey says “Christmas ain’t Christmas till somebody cries.”

  20. says

    I just think we all need to maintain our senses of humor and realize that some of the best experiences are those that are NOT planned out!

    The JOY is in the LOVE not the STUFF, don’t ya think?

  21. says

    Low expectations are SO important. Families do not remember the fabulously decorated tree. Or what was served for dinner.

    They will remember the unique and/or the repeated. For me:

    staying up until midnight to watch the astronauts broadcast from space. They read the christmas story from the bible.

    it’s the same thing in a stocking every year (orange in the toe, apple in the heel, hat, scarf or mittens in the calf, batteries, a book on top. Here, I admit that it breaks my heart that I told my spouse about this each of the first 10 years we were married. He dismissed it as trivial and never gave me the one gift I really wanted.

    it’s Uncle Joe telling a joke and every laughing. Then getting the group giggles and not being able to stop.

  22. says

    Great tips, most of which I’ve got going on–yay me. It only took 50+ years to figure it out.

    LOL at the Vince Vaughn quote.

  23. says

    since we bought the new house this year, we are hosting for the first time, ever!! I am beyond excited, and have already gone overboard, I’m afraid… I would love to say I’ll delegate, but, I want to do ALL the things myself :)

    we shall see, I can sleep the next day, right?

  24. says

    Excellent post Miz C! Bring on the fibre :)
    And I love the “lowering expectations” (or at least managing expectations) Words to live by all year, not just at the holidays. Sending hugs down to you.

  25. says

    That line from 4 Christmases is the best line ever. And Christmas chaos? Yes, that pretty much describes our holiday. Usually, it drives me crazy and I get flustered by it but I’m determined not to let it get to me so much this year and like you say, have low expectations and just be. Only other thing I would add (and I haven’t read through all the comments so forgive me) is drink water! I always forget :-)

  26. says

    Love all of these — yours AND the ones from the comments. I’ve been in a funk because I have to work 3rd shift Christmas Eve AND Christmas night …. but that still leaves whole lots of time to enjoy my guys and to just “be” …. and lots of time at a very slow and quiet workplace to veg out with Netflix.

  27. says

    PERFECT timing for this post! I’m hosting my first holiday (ever) this year in our new home and have tried really hard to ask for everyone to bring a dish so that I’m not cooking the whole meal by myself =)
    Thank you for all the wonderful tips – esp about managing (lowering) expectations!!

  28. says

    No lie, I’m kinda dreading parts of the actual holiday, but I’m on vacation right after I finish work today, so I’m just gonna go with the flow! I have no control over any part of it, but I will be with my boys and that will be all that I need.

  29. cheryl says

    start planning in october…I’m a “do it yourself-er” when it comes to cards and presents, so I have to begin early. When it’s all spread out, there’s no hurry or pressure. Kinda like training for an Ironman…one workout at a time…
    oh and I DO see that I keep up the routine so that I still get my runs/swims/lifts/rides in…makes me happy.

  30. says

    Why not dedicate a day or two to rest? Maybe use your relaxation techniques, but also just sit back in your sofa and dream! I hope it’s not too chaotic for you! :)

  31. says

    Oh… I’m all about the low expectations. I hate Christmas and this time of year (hate the food, the extended family hubbub) and hate New Year’s Eve. I just see it as any days of the year!

    I do need to work on the ‘limit my drinking’ thing as that’s how I cope with the extended family. (This year it’s my sister-in-law’s parents! I cope quite well with my mum, brother, his wife and my niece, but more people than that and I get tired of being nice!)


  32. says

    Oh I love this post!!! Im going to listen to this one!!! My only little tip I always get myself a present, something I know I will like and want. I don’t wrap it or tell anyone. But if my other half forgets, isn’t in a giving mood or picks something totally odd I can still feel excited about what I’m getting. Sounds really selfish to admit! Haha

  33. says

    I’ve learned over the years to say “NO” when it comes to the holidays. NO – I cannot make 10 dozen cookies by tomorrow morning. NO – I cannot attend 4 parties in one night. My priority is to keep things calm in my house during the holidays. So far, so good!

  34. says

    I am working on learning to delegate. Sometimes I like to be in control too much.
    I am also trying to realize not everything has to be perfect. That it is more important to be present, than to be perfect.

  35. says

    Enjoy the small moments. Sometimes the quiet moments with family are the most precious. It’s OK to say no and to keep it simple. And reach out to those who may be alone and lonely. And always be flexible. Most of the time, we have no control over circumstances! Got a big wake up call on that one yesterday! O_o

  36. says

    The holidays for me are always very quiet and chill, full of reflection. Partly, that’s because I’m usually poor so Christmas shopping isn’t a possibility. I write cards when I can. My family is also small, so there isn’t much visiting. I’ve always loved this about the holidays.