As I was waiting in the checkout line recently, I saw a sign that read: “But Wait, There’s More.” This was a “new” checkout line, because the store was already “shifting” things for the holidays. Curious as to why they would puzzle their customers with an ambiguous sign and a new, confusing line, I looked around me. Not only were the cashiers wearing fluffy Santa hats, but I was surrounded by a sea of stocking stuffers. To my right and left were huge bowls (that went to the tip-top of my head) full of lip-gloss, mini makeup mirrors, perfume, brushes and more.
What in the world had taken over?
I almost bought a few things standing there. But I couldn’t. I was there for returns, strictly. “Don’t let your eyes wander,” I kept telling myself (and my shopping soul). And then I got it: that sign on the wall was for me. “But Wait, There’s More”: more confusion, more stress, more ways to spend.
Has anyone else found themselves in this holiday hole again this year? You know the one – the endless lists, the confusing shopping lines and the inevitable menu options for the most wonderful time of the year. I must confess; being a mom is hard enough, but when you add Christmas joy to the mix, I get frazzled. Why? Because of this “wait, there’s more” mentality. There are more gifts to buy, cards to send, cookies to bake and bags to pack. We can go down this candy cane slide of endless sticky situations or we can opt out this year. Not altogether, of course. (Where’s your Christmas spirit, Scrooge? you ask. Stay with me.) What if we agreed to tone it down a notch (or 12)? Instead of more stuff, let’s pledge allegiance to the concept of less. Let’s get crazy and dedicate this festive time to getting people, say, cozy socks instead of so many big-ticket items (fill in the blank here).
Last year, I really wanted to enjoy the week or two leading up to Christmas and New Year’s. So I set out to actually do what we all say we’ll do every year: “I am going to get a head start on the rush.” Though I’m sure there are others out there who did a far better job than me, I wanted to share a few things I discovered that might just help change your slogan to “But Wait, There’s More…JOY.” Here are my reindeer-themed tips for spreading cheer and doing less:
I’m not talking about Black Friday. In fact, I have yet to be exposed to this storied day. I have heard legends of people saving big, but only because they braved the weather, got no sleep and did their research. I am talking about DASHING your way into the holidays by doing at least one thing per day – small steps to make progress. For example: bake cookies one night (preferably when you have the house to yourself so they don’t go missing into any nearby mouths) and freeze them. This may sound a little bit nuts (that’s right, add the nuts), but you will thank me when an unforeseen children’s party pops up or better yet, a neighbor swings by with a poinsettia plant…and you have nothing. No, wait! You have cookies, which you baked weeks ago. Frozen. You are welcome.
Cupid, that sweet reindeer who loves, has it right. Ultimately, you should do something you love this season. Not what your gal pal really wants – something YOU just have to do. Mine is silly, but true: I love to turn on the movie Christmas Vacation and wrap presents (nerd alert, I like to wrap). Do something you LOVE and don’t be sorry. This is a quick tip to get ahead because you are taking care of you – indulging in a little joy instead of stressing.
Our red-nosed friend had a vision to follow, a guiding light, if you will. We could all benefit from a guiding vision or a plan. If you need to purchase a few gifts, write it down in one generalized list. If you need to mail cards, pick a day and block out time. Sitting down with a calendar and carving out time is the best thing you can do to make it through the fog of the holiday season.
I don’t recall the reindeer named Flash, you say. Has she been getting into her yuletide cheer early? But hey, it’s my article, and “Flash” is part of my imaginary reindeer squad (what, doesn’t everybody have one?) Flash is a badass who decides that taking the easy road…well, it actually saves time. Seriously, give yourself a break. It’s okay to buy the appetizers instead of making them, to put gifts into sacks instead of wrapping them with a bow, and for Pete’s sake (Pete is lame) don’t overspend. Less is more. How do I know? Flash says so, and he’s the smartest imaginary reindeer on my squad.
All in all, go with it. Whether you are a ghost of Christmas past or present (or you know the future) embrace the joy. You don’t have to let it get crazy. Ultimately you decide the peace. So instead of going to another holiday soiree you don’t enjoy…don’t. Go home. Get cozy. Play a few reindeer games. And turn on the Griswolds. Because there is more – more laughter, happiness, love and sincerity – waiting if you take the time to find it. Cheers to MORE of that good stuff.