Making Happy Holidays

It is so, so easy to reach Stress Level: Midnight this time of year. As I've mentioned a time or two, I'm a Type A with mild OCD and anxiety who's always doing 150 things at once. Yeah, you think I get stressed out? Just a little bit.
Up until a few years ago, this time of year — immediately following Halloween and straight through to the end of the year — always signaled a non-stop freakout:
  • I have to get all my holiday shopping done.
  • I have to make sure I don't forget to get anyone a gift or send anyone a card.
  • I have to get my Christmas donations sent out.
  • I have to do all of this under budget and not go totally broke.
  • I have to remember my mom and grandfather's birthdays right before Christmas.
  • I have to figure out what to prepare for Thanksgiving, and then do it.
  • I have to decorate for the holidays. (Silly, maybe, but it's part of me!)
  • Here comes the snow. Is my car ready? Is my wardrobe ready?
  • I have to schedule in all the holiday parties that come up over the next few weeks.
  • That means host(ess) gifts and party outfits.
  • Let's not even talk about work – year-end deadlines and reviews, oh my!
  • Do I have the days to take winter vacation time this year? Can I actually GO anywhere? LOL NO but wouldn't it be nice? Staycation it is. Let's plan a vacation for next year...
  • Who's coming into town for the holidays that I need to schedule in?
  • Shit, am I getting sick? I feel like I'm getting sick.
  • Christ it's COLD out. Do I really have to leave the house at all? Oh look, ice. Oh look, broken neck.
  • I haven't seen sunlight in a whole week.
Need I go on any further?
I often have this problem where I feel like I'm forgetting about something, or there's something keeping me from feeling "done." My budget is set, my shopping lists are checked twice, my To Do list is handled and organized. Everything is in its right place but there's something that keeps me double checking my calendar, my lists, my spreadsheet. It's a really inconvenient way to be, let me tell you. It's frustrating. And it's exhausting.

This year has been a really wonderful one for me. Full of change and growth and exciting new beginnings. So I'm determined to ride that good feeling right into 2015. No, Holiday Season 2014, you are not going to reduce me to a manic mess of a woman this time. I'm not letting the stress spoil the holidays for me, and I'm not going to give in to the negativity some people can't resist spreading through their relationships.
From now until the end of the year, I'm going to Christmas shop.
I'm going to give back.
I'm going to run for the love of running, rather than to prepare for a race.
I'm going to decorate my apartment in hand-carved Santa Clauses and evergreen wreathes.
I'm going to play Christmas and winter music by the Glee Cast (IT'S SO GOOD), She & Him, Michael Buble, and Harry Connick, Jr.
I'm going to enjoy my heated seats and learn how to use four-wheel drive.
I'm going to watch ABC Family Christmas movies under warm blankets with hot tea.
I'm going to watch Love, Actually and The Family Stone and How the Grinch Stole Christmas and quote along, even if I'm talking only to myself.
I'm going to endure the horrified looks I receive from people who learn I've never seen It's a Wonderful Life, Home Alone or A Christmas Story.
I'm going to enjoy Thanksgiving with kind people whom I love and love me.
I'm going to celebrate Christmas with loved ones.
I'm going to ring in the new year with positive energy, good friends, laughter, and love around me.
I'm going to remember my grandmother, and miss her, and carry my beautiful memories of her from holidays past into every moment of the next few weeks.
I'm going to be where I am and when I am.
Directed toward literally no one. It's just... well, perfect.
How are you planning to spend the next couple of weeks? How do you prepare for the onslaught of holiday mayhem? Do you have any tricks or tips for keeping calm through the holidays?
Oh and most importantly, for playlist-building purposes, what's your favorite Christmas/winter song? (Or artist, because there are really only like 10 songs sung by 600 different artists, right?)


  1. Yay! The holidays should be celebrated, not stressed over. Enjoy your non-training running because come January you got some training to do! ;)

  2. YOU'VE NEVER SEEN HOME ALONE!?!?!?! Alyssa, what is going on with you!?! I can't wrap my head around this. Please fix this, asap. Like, right now. Netflix it. Right meow. (You've seen Super Troopers right?)

  3. It sounds like you have an absolutely incredible holiday season ahead of you. I'm going to check out the Glee soundtrack now- and break my rule of no holiday music until after Thanksgiving!

  4. I take every day as it comes. It's true that it can get crazy during holiday season.... I try not to set too many expectations of myself so I can make sure I am enjoying my time.

  5. i totally know what you mean!! The holidays can be so stressful, but I just think about what's important!! Being with family and just relishing in this time of year!! I love what you have planned for the season and your gifs are too funny!! Home Alone is a must see!!!

  6. PLAN. that's key to not stressing over the holidays. for me, i've already started my christmas shopping and will target to finish everything by Nov 30!

  7. I am such a procrastinator, but I'm going on vacation before Christmas and coming home Christmas Eve so I'm forcing myself to be on the ball this year and plan myself time to get everything done without losing my mind. What you have planned for this year makes me so happy! YES to Love Actually. Best movie ever, especially around the holidays! Also: do you run outside in the winter?

  8. i have been having a straight up panic attack over christmas because im poor. like really poor right now. and i keep thinking "omg i wont be able to buy nice gifts for my family" and the pressure to SPEND money is just killing me. i have so many other options for gifts but for some reason my brain equates a good gift with its price tag and i need to find a way to let myself understand that MONEY ISNT EVERYTHING.

  9. I'm have never seen Home Alone? Like....what are you doing with your life?!?! I forgot everything else I was going to say in this little comment box here because I am just confused. I think I was going to say something about don't stress yourself out too much because the holidays is supposed to be an enjoyable time. But you wouldn't know that since you have never seen Home Alone.....

  10. I feel you. This time of year is nuts. I don't want to get to that place this year. I want to enjoy the holidays and not stress. Work deadlines yea that blows! Year end is heavy for us too! I actually took a day off a few weeks ago to get organized. I spent the day making lists for presents with budgeted amounts. I got all my holiday recipies out and on the fridge. I've purchased a few presents already and made myself wrap them that day so those are done and good to go . I am determinedNOT to get crazy this year too! We are in bit together. :)

  11. I have seen Home Alone many moons ago but I haven't seen it in the last 10 years, and I haven't seen the others you mentioned. I love Love Actually though, so freaking cute. I have a special place in my heart for Mariah Carey, Hanson (don't judge) and Michael Buble christmas music. I'm trying to wait though.
    Your list of things to do started stressing me out - I always have that 'forgetting something' feeling. It never goes away, no matter what I am doing or planning, I always feel like I'm forgetting something. Boo.
    Hope you have a magnificent holiday season :) here's to 2015 (shit).

  12. I can agree to almost everything on your list up there- especially my thought process to anything weather related as soon as winter hits- it makes everything so much more stressful! I love your mindset going into this busy time of the year. One of my favorite holiday/winter songs that I don't hear very much about is Winter Song by Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. Also now I want to go watch Love Actually and The Holiday after seeing your gifs :)

  13. Well Im scrooge this year babe but I look forward to seeing your Christmas posts!

  14. I try to keep it simple around the holidays. There's always so much to do and I've come to the conclusion that I can't do it all, so I just prioritize, focus on the most important things and then enjoy!!! I actually just finished watching Love Actually and I love that scene in the last picture!! My boyfriend and I booked a cabin for one weekend in December and we were just saying that we'll have to bring some Christmas music. I'm definitely going to check out the Glee album!! I'm a pretty big geek in that I still love Amy Grant's Home For Christmas album. It's SO old now, but my parents played it every Christmas so I suppose it's sentimental.


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