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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Lim


The holiday season is upon us and someone said that this is the most wonderful time of the year. Right about now, visions of sugar coated, candy cane scented evenings by a crackling fire are dancing in your head. Its cozy and cheerful and oh so...pretty. In your head.

I am here to remind you of that little thing called REAL LIFE. Real life is all in favour of twinkly fantasies, IF you include it in your plans. Some of the aspects of the holiday season really are fantasy or should be. Like hosting 12 for Christmas dinner when you are 9 months pregnant. Yeah...don't do that.

Whether you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa or some other festival of light this December, I would like you to be MINDFUL. Be mindful of your well being and your family's well being. Whichever celebration you are observing, there will be food, people, an expectation of happy faces, sometimes gifts, often visitors and a general sense of hustle and bustle.

In the midst of all of that, remember- you are a grown up. Yup, you are..and YOU get to decide how, how much and even IF you will celebrate anything this year.

In my house, Christmas is our jam and with 4 adult (or almost adult ) "children" at home, I have made an executive decision to do Secret Santa. Gone are the years of me maniacally dashing tither and yon to make sure everyone has matching pyjamas, full stockings and the perfect set of presents for Christmas morning. This year, everyone drew a name out of a hat (a Santa hat!) and needs to buy a gift for that person only. We will still have our traditional Christmas eve dinner of Chinese take out and then attend a huge extended family gathering at my sisters house on Christmas day. All of my important bases are covered. In one pointed choice, I cut out a whole lot of stress for myself. You can do this too.

Make a list of all your holiday traditions. Which ones can you just NOT let go of?

I HAVE to have a real tree, watch A Charlie Brown Christmas (I HAVE to!) and attend that big family dinner. Those are my Deal Breakers. I will also do some other smaller things, like- hang a wreath on the front door and put out our Christmas mugs. I planned ONE cookie baking day and a couple of movie nites with my grand kids and THAT. IS. IT.

Christmas this year will be fun and inexpensive. My two favourite combos.

Let go of the traditions that are onerous, stressful and not fun .I dropped sending Christmas cards (sorry folks, a mass email will have to do), going to the Cavalcade of lights (it will be on TV!) and excessive cooking and shopping. Delegate tasks. Make sure each gathering is a potluck. Revel in the non-crazy parts of the holiday, like looking at your lighted tree or decorated house. Go for a moonlit walk through the snow covered streets. Actually do that one all winter long...lovely. Use store bought eggnog and fruit cake (blasphemy!...but do it anyway). Make a budget before hand and STICK TO IT. My philosophy about Christmas gifts is that, this is not a time for extravagant, over the top gifts. To me, presents at Christmas are supposed to be small tokens of love and unity. Gimme the big stuff at my birthday when I am the only one you need to shop for (hint, hint).

Above all- remember that YOU are in charge of how much festivity (if any) you want in your home. These are holiday celebrations, not an exercise in insanity.

Revel. Rest. Repeat.

Merry, happy, joyous December to you all.

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