It’s November, and it’s time to have the talk. The same talk we have every year. Sorry not sorry, we’re gonna talk about it again.
As much as we all want to pretend otherwise, this holiday season is going to look an awful lot like last holiday season. Supply lines are backed up. Everyday items and festive goodies are hard to find. More than a few have lost their jobs or had their hours drastically cut. Many of us will be celebrating the days with empty seats at our tables. Some buried loved ones. Some had to cut toxic family members out of our lives.
It’s likely you, like me, aren’t entering into this festive season in the best of spirits.
I still want to celebrate. I want to have fun. I want to bake and watch festive movies. I want to enjoy good food and time with the people I love. And I want to enjoy good stories.
So I’m here again to give you four pieces of advice to get you through this season. Listen, we need the holidays. We need bright moments of joy. We need cats playing in wrapping paper, Yule logs burning, good meals, and great moments.
We’ve gotten through tough years before, as a society. Wars and Depressions. I don’t know you, but I bet you’ve gone through some tough holidays yourself. After death or divorce. After losing a job or a fight.
I’ve had holidays so broke every gift came from the Dollar Tree. I’ve buried a grandmother in mid-December. I’ve changed religions and lost the comfort of a Church family to celebrate with. I’ve had a holiday season after a bad divorce.
This year, we’re in a new home and we are struggling, cash-wise. Health has been a concern this year. And some other things I can’t talk about yet.
But I’ll be damned if I’ll take my current pleasure away from myself. And here’s how I’m going to do it.
Prioritize like hell
You know my favorite thing in this whole wide world is a list. So when I started planning for this season, I made my list by priority. It’s hard to do it, but you’ve got to. Sit down and think about what you’d want to do if it’s the only thing you do.
The top of my list is watching Elf with my husband on Christmas Eve. Right after that is having a fancy charcuterie board dinner on Yule. And third is reading holiday books under a blanket with a fire video on the tv and Harper on my lap.
Yes, there are other things. Simpsons episodes and about a million movies. Lots of recipes to make and decorate. But you know what? If I don’t get to do any of those things, then I guess that’s what happens. I know what I’ll sacrifice, and what I won’t. Because what we make a priority gets done.
Get as much off your plate now as you can
You may have noticed on social media that I’ve been talking a lot about this. I’m batch writing all of my blog posts through the end of the month and scheduling them. Both for here and Haunted MTL. (Except my reviews of Dexter, New Blood. By the way, I’m live-tweeting during every episode over on Twitter. Follow Haunted MTL so you don’t miss it.)
I’m finishing a rough draft this month during Nanowrimo of course. I’m writing scripts for an upcoming podcast.
And then in December, I am doing as little as freaking possible.
So if I’ve got to go all over town to find Christmas crackers, I damn well can. So if I want to spend my whole weekend reading and baking cookies, I damn well can. And if I just want to sit with some hot chocolate and watch the snow (or rain) fall, I damn well can.
If it goes well, I might just set up my goals next year so I can take all of December off then too.
Now, I’m still going to have to go to my day job. As already mentioned, I’ll still have episodes of New Blood to watch and review. I’ll still be updating social media.
But that’s not near as much as I’ve been doing. And it’s nice, to worry not about what I need to do, but what I want to do.
So what can you get off your plate this month, so you can play and celebrate next month?
Christmas just won’t be Christmas without the special sugar cookies your family has been making for five generations. That’s gonna be a real hard sell if the one ingredient you need is on a boat stuck in a loading bay by customs.
If you’re not already noticing a supply chain issue, I’m surprised. Every time I go to the store it feels like half of what I normally get is just not there. And what is there is sure as hell more expensive than it was last year.
Look, we’re going to have to get flexible this year. We’re going to have to settle for less than we want, for not the perfect picture. And it’s not great.
But it’s better than letting yourself get into a tear because you have to get creative. Be aware, be prepared, and be flexible.
I mean this last one in two ways. First of all, be patent with your fellow man. Everyone is going through something right now. I already went over that in the intro. Yeah, it’s easy to get pissy when someone’s being a bitch in public. You might even want to be that person losing it because there is not anything in the grocery store your child will eat, and that quarter-filled cart is still going to set you back eighty bucks. But please, for the love of God remember that we are all humans. We’re all trying to get through something that sucks at best. And not all of us are getting out of it alive.
Be patient with people, and be patient with yourself. Take time to rest, get help when you need it. And if you lose your cool at your mother-in-law over Thanksgiving dinner, maybe just apologize and forgive yourself.
I truly hope you have the happiest of holidays, no matter what that looks like to you this year. We all deserve that warmth and light at the end of a long year. Enjoy what you have to enjoy, love who you have to love.
You can support Paper Beats World on Ko-fi.