I've just returned from a weekend in NYC and, it's official, the holidays are here! Rather than approaching the season with an exhausted list of to-dos, let this year be different. Light a balsam fir-scented candle, draw a cinnamon-scented bath (LUSH makes a great one called Hot Java that has actual cinnamon sticks inside), play some of your fave Sinatra holiday tunes, and turn off your cell phone. Take some time before the rush overcomes you to reflect on the year, the reason for the season, and honor the fabulous hip tranquil chick you are through these five fabulous tips:
1. Write down your milestones in 2005 (ex. new hair color, left an unhappy relationship, said “no” to mom, took up a yoga habit), and note what you’d like your milestones to be this time 2006 (ex. Query letter sent to publishers, relocate, paid off retail therapy debt, cut out fast food).
2. Instead of giving gifts this year, give experiences. For example, has your best friend been dying to see a new exhibit at the Phillips Collection? Give her a coupon for a complimentary afternoon on the date of her choice to peruse the exhibit, dine in the museum café, and catch up. Experiences last so much longer than yet another strawberry flavored lip gloss.
3. Get into the spirit of giving to yourself. Take the time to decorate and relish in the festivities. Even if you have a tiny studio apartment, buy a fresh wreath or rosemary tree to nurture your senses, simmer apple cider on the stove, and invite some of your fave friends over to sing carols, roast marshmallows, or watch Love Actually.
4. Share your resources with those in need. There are many ways to volunteer and be of service during this sacred time of the year. What is close to your heart? You can sponsor a child or family for the holiday and buy a couple items to help make their day special through various local organizations. How about fostering a new dog or cat? What about becoming a big sister? Or even donating some of your time to a local shelter such as House of Ruth. Visit a nursing home and watch their faces light up!
5. Strategically plan for the busyness of the season. Avoid prime time shopping that is sure to send you into a frenzy. Take a mental health day from the office if you must but, whatever you do, don’t hit the stores on the weekends. Shop online, ship the items gift wrapped, and only say “yes” to festivities you’re excited to attend. If you travel, drink plenty of water, take stretch breaks, load up on Vitamin C, and allow time of the front and back end to recover from the trip before resuming your regular routine.
Cheers to living in the moment, connecting with loved ones, and relishing in the spirit of giving. Here’s to the holidays! (picture a raised martini glass with a festive gold bow tied around the stem, filled with a delicious cosmopolitan or cranberry juice, topped off with a sliver of an orange)