Here are 5 PR Fixes to help you navigate through and have a happy holidays:
- Start early – Whether it’s gift giving, party hosting or caroling, plan in advance. Once the dishes from your Thanksgiving meal are washed, the holidays will be in full force, demanding your time and money. If you don’t have a plan, you’ll end up in reaction-mode, bouncing all over the place like a pinball. Get a jump start early, in whatever way possible, so that you can pace yourself and enjoy through the festivities.
- Be clear about your budget – Holiday budgeting is another task that you should do in advance, even one year ahead of time. This way, you can decide how much to put aside each month to cover the costs of holiday expenses. But if you’re like me and didn’t budget months in advance, take the time now to sit down for a few minutes and determine how much you can responsibly spend on the holidays. Be realistic and don’t overextend yourself. You may need to make some hard decisions, such as not hosting a party or reducing your gift list. There are many alternatives to reduce the cost of gift giving, such as ornament exchanges, placing price limits on gifts, or pull names out of a hat so that instead of giving a present to everyone in a group, you exchange gifts with just one individual. Another great idea is agreeing to not give material gifts, but rather make an effort to spend time together. I often feel like I’m so busy during the holidays that I don’t have the time to actually relax and have fun with my closest friends. Getting together with people I enjoy the most would truly be a gift for me.
- Send group invitations – Every time I host a party, guests ask me the same question prior to the event, “Who else is coming?” They want to know for various reasons, but I realized that one of the reasons they ask is that they may have awkwardness or strife with another guest. I don’t change my guest list based on other people’s issues, but I have started to send group invitations by email so all guests can see who is invited. They can then decide if they want to attend or not.
- If you don’t want to attend a party, don’t go. – Seriously, don’t do it. We all have experienced the family dinner or office party that we did not want to attend because of a creepy step-uncle who asked you for a loan, drunk co-workers, or another reason. It’s not easy to decline some invitations, but it’s worth doing it to avoid a bad time or conflict. If there are people at those parties who you would like to spend time with, but not in that group setting, set up a time to meet with them on an individual basis.
- Make it your own – The holidays can be a tough time for many because of past holiday experiences that were not ideal. My grandfather passed away on Dec. 15, so holiday sights, sounds and smells also remind me of this sad time for our family. We all must remember that the past is in the past. Acknowledge your feelings of sadness, hurt, anger, or whatever they may be. Then, acknowledge that this is a new season and you have control to make it wonderful for you. Make it your own. Do what you want and what will make you happy. Do not succumb to feelings of obligation or guilt. Ask yourself what will bring you joy this season, and act on it! A great way to lift your spirits is to give back to those in need. One hour at a local soup kitchen can bring great perspective and energize your heart and soul.
May this holiday season be your very best. Cheers!