The Elephant Under the Christmas Tree *** By Stacy Sternberg

Elephant Under the Christmas TreeFor some, the holidays are an extremely joyous time of year. A time for reflection and a chance to take the opportunity to appreciate everything you have and those you love, like Grandma who knitted you a Christmas sweater that will be just perfect for this year’s ugly sweater Christmas party… you know who you are!

But for others, the holidays can be dreadful… absolutely dreadful. That means Christmas music from now ‘til what may seem like eternity, impressive decorations and ornately lit wreaths and trees around every corner… and I mean EVERY corner, the never ending sound of Santa Clauses’ bells ringing for charity which you feel kind of guilty for hating because you know it’s for a good cause and crowds of people, people and more people. On top of all that, don’t forget about home invasions from extended family members accompanied by huge messes to clean up.

Home during the holidays can become a place of anxiety and those regular errands to the store that you hate so much become a blessing because that is your Get Out of Jail Free card, the rare opportunity to escape your own prison.

If this is all too familiar, it’s time to upgrade with the times. Here are five ways to actually enjoy the holidays.

1. If your “tradition” sucks… change it!

Get away for Christmas this year Just because you have the same customary routine every year doesn’t mean you can’t change it. If you know that having extra people over you house puts you in a bad mood because X, Y and Z are too lazy to clean-up after themselves and their dogs pee on your carpet, nip it in the bud!

Plan a destination holiday. You don’t have to go far and if X, Y, and Z need to bring their dogs, there are many pet friendly hotels available.

This option will leave your house just the way you left it, may allow you to actually enjoy your extended family’s company and will give you a private place to find refuge if need be. Additionally, destination holiday vacations generally have many planned and included activities which can be quite fun.

Bohemain Dream Tour
Alaskan Adventure Tour
Las Vegas

2. Plan your holiday with the people with whom you actually want to spend it.

Spend your precious time with those you care about Many times people feel like they are obligated to go beyond the call of duty just because it’s the holiday season. They end up sacrificing the whole idea behind spending time with those who matter most. I’m not saying skip out on your responsibilities, but what I am saying is don’t surrender all of yourself or your precious time off with the ones who suck the sanity out of your soul.

If you need to split your time between several options, then do it. Make your appearance, be attentive and receptive and then get the hell out of dodge! No one’s feelings will be hurt and you can have your fruitcake and eat it too.

3. If the inevitable is coming and there is nothing you can do about it, create a plan.

Don’t accept the status quo that has always been just because it is a system that is already in place. Make amendments by golly and have your holly jolly Christmas!

The dynamic usually goes like so. (X) cooks and cleans way more than they should to pick up the slack for their lazy family members, (Y) half-assed helps out and then seems to get side tracked into the predictably philosophical after-dinner conversation, and (Z) is just a lazy taker who doesn’t do dung. Which leaves you left with everything else.

Plan B: Delegate.

Before everybody comes, tastefully explain that you are trying to get the holiday meal in order. Simply ask what they are planning to bring or cook and thank them ahead of time for cleaning up their mess. Now is the chance to explain that last year you truly enjoyed their company, but all of the mess you had to clean up after they left was a little hard on your body. That way they will know what is expected of them and they will probably go out of their ways to prove they aren’t total D B’s.

4. If you know you’re a Grinch, don’t ruin Christmas!

For some, sometimes just being around people can be a drag. If you fit into this category, don’t think that people can’t notice. Folks are in a celebratory mood. If you know you’re like a bull in a china closet when everybody is in the same room singing Deck the Halls, have a glass of spiked eggnog, give every body a kiss hello and then come up with a good reason to leave.

5. If you have read over any of the above and professed last year or at some point that you were going to do one of them, DO IT!

Do you know why?

Because Pete and Repeat were in a boat. Pete fell out, who was left?

That’s right. Every year is going to be the same unless you are proactive.

From all of us at Coast to Coast Grand Getaways, we hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season.

My colleague at Coast to Coast Grand Getaways, Stacy is a web designer, Internet marketing strategist and social media Diva. This feature was originally posted on our  CTCGG blog. Stacy also manages our Facebook page. Be sure to like!

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