Now, I know what you're thinking. We're all acquainted with those exceptions who never seem to grow up, and will be selfish until the day they die. This isn't about them. It's about the people like you and me who seem to always be doing something for someone else. And while that is honorable, it doesn't allow us the time of taking a break from it all.
This time last year, like most Christmas seasons, I was wearing myself out. My resistance was falling because of lack of sleep and I was headed down the predictable path of getting sick with a cold. But this year, I'm turning it around. Just for the few weeks before Christmas, I'm saying "no" to a few things. Before thinking you've stumbled upon the female version of Scrooge, let me explain.
Last Christmas my decorating was outlandish. Everything had to be perfect because we were having not one, but several parties in our home. This year, I've cut the decorating in half, leaving a large part of the decorations boxed up. And this year, with the exception of having our family in on Christmas day, there are no parties on the calendar.
Last year I was going nonstop with baking cookies to be sweetly decorated by our grandchildren and gifts from the kitchen to be enjoyed by all. Not this year. The cookies weren't baked, but purchased from the grocer deli, and those kitchen gifts will perhaps be a kitchen gadget so someone else can enjoy getting in there and whipping something up.
My point is, be kinder to yourself. You don't have to carry it to the extreme and spend the day floating in a tub full of bubbles, or order all your food for entertaining from a caterer, but when it comes to pushing yourself too far, take a moment and think about it. Does it really matter if one more plate of sweets are on the table? Do you really have to spice the cider just so, or really, even have cider? And if the star on top of your tree is crooked, which mine is, what's it going to matter in six months? Actually, right now my mindset is that crooked star is rather endearing.
So, my gift to you is a gift to yourself this season. Smile, take more deep breaths, and leave your credit card in your wallet when passing by the tempting item which will be that "just one more thing to make it perfect". Find your stopping point and stick with it. Not only will you feel better about your budget at the start of a new year, you'll feel better about yourself. And that, is the greatest gift you can receive from you.
God bless you and yours.