Turkeys have all been roasted, street posts are wrapped in garland and the Salvation Army Santa is outside the local grocery store ringing his bell for change. It is officially the most wonderful time of year.

Unfortunately, rather than the sweet melody of a Christmas carol playing on repeat in your mind, the ten thousand things on your ‘To Do In The Next Three Weeks’ list are rattling through your brain. Presents to be bought, cookies to bake and endless parties to attend; sure sounds like fun! Right? With your boss at work really counting on you while he goes on vacation, your kid’s incessant soccer practices and the tedious routine of life adding up… it quickly turns, from “Feliz Navidad” to “Bah Humbug” in a matter of seconds.

Photo Credit : Mika Rotunda

Photo Credit : Mika Rotunda

Holidays are a time to eat, drink and be merry with the people you love most, not be Ebenezer Scrooge. Ironically, you are the one responsible for bringing everyone together and making all the magic happen. Sure, you love being dubbed the “hostess with the mostest,” but you cringe at the thought of the next few weeks being completely kerbobbled (as Cindy Loo Who would say)! Sadly, all of this can take a serious toll on your health and well-being.

Sound familiar to you? Then worry no more, because these are tips designed with you, the holiday Cheermeister, in mind. Take these tips to immaculately make the sleigh bells rings, uphold your earned jolly title and NOT BE STRESSED the entire time.

1. BRAINSTORM before the lightning strikes

Photo Credit : Mika Rotunda

Photo Credit : Mika Rotunda

Long before cousin Eddie’s R.V. rolls into the drive way, you should take the time to map out the itinerary for the crew coming to town. Make a list and check it twice. Write down everything you can think of… things that have worked in the past, who is sleeping where, how many guests are expected, who is making grandma’s famous custard and what time dinner will be served. Doing this will get you organized, reassured that you can do this another year and spare you six thousand questions to answer.

2. Make a plan and stick to it

Photo credit ; Mika Rotunda

Photo credit ; Mika Rotunda

Right on track with your plans, you have written out all the daily to do list. Just getting out of a long day of work, you’re ready to tackle at least ten things… until, your best friend calls and asks you to come over for a catch up dinner and wine.  Relaxation sounds like the ultimate evening, but you know that if you don’t check at least four things off your list tonight, tomorrow will be like a nightmare before Christmas. Getting those little daily tasks completed will have you more productive than the head elf in the North Pole.

3. Take a Hike

Photo Credit: Mika Rotunda

Photo Credit: Mika Rotunda

Literally. Go outside and take a hike. Being cooped up indoors without sunshine and stressing is a sure way to put a damper on your holiday cheer. Studies have proven that during the winter months, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is extremely common for those who are suffering from lack of sunshine. Strap on your snow boots, grab a cup of hot cocoa and get outside. With fresh air in your lungs and luminous sunshine on your face, a clear mentality can be instilled to alter your mode and bring you back a happier, more productive and gleeful host.

4. Recruit the Elites

Photo Credit : Mika Rotunda

Photo Credit : Mika Rotunda

Don’t feel obligated to get it all done yourself. As I said before, this is a time to celebrate with the ones who you love, so you may as well get them involved. Fortunately, it’s very common that your party guest each have a signature expertise. Don’t hesitate to ask Martha May to help decorate, have the Keebler’s make cookies and Aunt Clara roast a ham for dinner. Although you may be shy to ask for other’s to contribute, take into account that they take pride ( just like you) in the self-proclaimed craft they’ve mastered. Christmas day in Whoville is a prime example, each showing up with a smile on their face and a dish in hand.

5. Take time to toast

Photo Credit : Mika Rotunda

Photo Credit : Mika Rotunda

Grandma’s flight is on time, FedEx is coming first thing in the morning, the yule log still has six hours until it burns out and the cookies on the counter taste fabulous. NOW, go and pour a glass of that special eggnog your cousin brought and enjoy the party. Spending time worrying about every detail of the event will rob your joy. Make a toast and hop right into the game of Monopoly being played downstairs… it’s your turn to roll the dice.

6. Start a new tradition

Photo Credit : Mika Rotunda

Photo Credit : Mika Rotunda

Doing what has worked in the past is always a sure way to keep things safe. However, if attempting to make your mom’s famous stuffing, wrapping presents like Buddy the Elf and creating a table setting that looks like a Ballard Designs custom creation causes you to lose sleep… then it’s time to spike the punch! Make it your own. That’s how new traditions are created. Perhaps you want to decorate in cheetah print and red or you saw a way to recycle news paper to wrap gifts or you prefer a healthier dinner without ten sticks of butter in each dish. I say… go for it. This way, your pressure to uphold the caliber can be let go and creates an opportunity to invite something fresh into the mix.

There are so many tips to help you have a stress free Holiday, but the greatest of all is to often remind yourself of how truly fortunate we all are. No matter how irritating the in-laws can be, inconvenient the drive to the nearest Honey Baked Ham is and overwhelming the crowds at the mall are… there is always much to be grateful for. Acknowledging all the wonderful things is enough to relieve a huge amount of stress in itself.

Take these tips, and a deep breath, and have yourself a Merry little (or ginormous) Christmas!

Mika Rotunda | Cw44 Tampa Bay

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