How to Beat X-mas 

Multi generation family having fun at christmas diner feast - Winter holiday x mas concept with parents and children eating

The holidays are here! While holidays bring with them ample celebration, they can certainly be stressful as well.  Financial concerns, family quarrels, travel nightmares, and dietary indiscretions are just a short list of potential perils.  It’s easy to see how joy and jubilee can be overshadowed by a litany of stressors. These stressors, in short, are what I refer to as X-mas.  

What is X-mas? 

You probably have seen or heard the term “X-mas” before, and not thought much about it.  X-mas originated as a shorthand form for Christmas.  However, as time went on it has become the term that denotes all the secular aspects of the holiday.  This includes the parties, the commercialism/endless advertisements, the over-indulgence, the excessive gift-giving, the elaborate decorating, etc.  While some of these, in moderation, can be associated with Christmas, it seems today that more and more they overtake the true joys of the season.   

How do I Reclaim Christmas from X-mas? 

The short answer is to simply start now.  While this post is a little late to the punch since Black Friday has already descended, and Cyber Monday is coming to a close, the time is now to reclaim this season.  Before you get wrapped up and overextended with party obligations, endless gift purchasing, and completely stressed, take the time now to reframe how you are going to take control of the holidays this year and remind yourself of the reason for the season.  Regardless of your faith or which holidays you observe, this is a time of year for reflection and gratitude.  Charity and kindness are in order as well.  Thus, before you trample someone at the nearest Walmart, take a step back to re-prioritize. 

Do holidays have you financially strapped?  Well, now is the time to refine your gift list.  I bet there are a few people with whom you could opt to simply not exchange this year.  Your friends and coworkers do not all need a token gift from you.  They probably would much prefer a kind word or personalized card, or even some time set aside this year to connect with them individually.  Similarly, your family does not need the tree to be overflowing with presents you can’t afford.  Now would be the best time to reset expectations, maybe focus on one or two special gifts, and then use the rest of your time and energy to build memories rather than credit card debt.  

Give Yourself the Gift of Health

Do the holidays leave you feeling unhealthy?  It is no secret that ‘tis the time of year for cookies, pastries, rich meats, mashed potatoes, and plenty of alcohol. So, before you let one splurge of a holiday meal turn into a 31-day free-for-all, plan ahead to make sure you don’t outgrow the clothes you just got for Christmas.  Consider going low-carb for the holidays.  Fill up on the nuts, meats, cheeses, and veggies, and skip the desserts and breads.  If that’s too much of a sacrifice, then make a plan for portion control before heading to your next soiree.  Fill up on a little on a salad or something healthy before the party, so that you aren’t completely ravenous and eat everything in sight the second you arrive. 

Space out alcoholic drinks with glasses of water or club soda to help save on calories as well and avoid the morning-after headaches.  Of course, be sure to make time for exercise this season as well.  As we talked about scaling back on some of the shopping this season, use that time to stay active and make time for your health.  Exercise is key for staying healthy, clearing our minds, and avoiding the holiday blues. 

X-mas Simply Amounts to Excess 

I think the above phrase succinctly summarizes the problems with X-mas.  It takes what should be a joyous time of year, and transforms it into a gluttonous, consumerist carnival.  X-mas tells us we need more food, more gifts, more parties, and more money.  It is what happens when too much of a good thing goes bad.  So, make a change this year and resolve to reclaim the season.  Use this month as a time to reconnect with family and friends, give back to your community, and of course celebrate in moderation.   

Most importantly, use this as a time for charity.  Giving to others in special need or who simply have less is a surefire way to help put your stressors in perspective.  For example, I am stressing a little about hosting our annual Christmas party this week.  However, at the same time, I am preparing a gift bag for someone at our local church who merely is requesting items like slippers and toiletries.  It truly makes me feel as though worrying about having enough holiday punch or fancy crackers for the party is rather trivial.  Thus, use charity to take from the excess of X-mas, and give to those truly in need.       

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 

I hope this post gives you something to think about this holiday season.  Again, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, something else, or nothing at all, I wish you a joyous month.  As the days get shorter and the nights longer, use this as a time to find some quiet and focus on how to get the most out of this season.    

I would love to hear your feedback by using the Contact Us button at the top of the page.  Let me know what stressors you are anticipating this holiday season, and if you need any help in tackling them.  

For more advice on how to improve your life in general, please read my book by clicking here.  I talk a lot more about how to make your life better not only for December but for the whole year!  As always, don’t forget to leave a good review on Amazon.   

Until next post!