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Master the art of Christmas chopping

Off with their heads!” This is how we can end up feeling towards everyone and everything when we’re stressed up to our necks in all the end-of-year preparations. Not very festive, I dare say.

And while December is yet to begin, the frenzy is already upon us. Shoppers are shopping, the lights are lit, Santa literally “came to town” … even the Harbour Road owls have declared it.

The next month will see many of us partying and eating and buying and decorating and racing around and drinking and cooking and buying more. It’s dizzying — enough to make anyone lose their head, and their tempers.

This year however, why don’t we serve up the season a little differently? Let’s aim to simply whet our appetites (and perhaps our pants a little from all the joy and laughter) and not our axes! Here are some tips to get through the holidays a little calmer, with no heads rolling:

1, Carve out time for yourself. December’s calendar fills fast. Before it does, ensure you block out protected pockets for rest, recharging and self-care. Treat this time as sacred, defending it against the pressures and urges to shop, prep or party 24/7. The holidays will be far jollier if neither you nor the turkey gets burnt out.

2, Dice up the chores and delegate. You are not responsible for providing Christmas’ entire cheer and magic single-handedly! Ask for help. Get others to join in. Participating in the preparations can all be part of the fun. Note: helpers are not mind-readers and may need direction if you want things done a particular way, but most would rather lend a hand than cause you to sharpen your guillotine.

3, Pare down expectations. Often the best times are ones we least expect. Magnifying our demands of an event, or of ourselves, leaves room for disappointment even feelings of failure — which can dampen any spirit. Adopting an attitude of optimistic curiosity, a relaxed outlook of “it is what it is; let’s make the best of it”, relegates negative judgment to the cold and allows room to be pleasantly surprised.

4, Make short cuts where you can. Evaluate what’s important and where you might be able to lessen your load. Little things like buying trimmed beans instead of not, using in-store wrapping options, calling ahead … The special traditions at the very heart of your celebrations, no matter how time-consuming, are the ones to protect. For the rest, look for efficiencies and time-saving tricks.

5, Cleave outside pressures of “what you should do or how you should do it” this season. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and everyone has their opinions, taking time to check in with your own values, what’s important to you at this time of year, can help you feel grounded and ensure that what we do is truly serving our joy and happiness.

Let’s make “getting the knives out” this season not about aiming them at each other, more about creating a little extra breathing and merrymaking room so we can all enjoy together.

Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on 705-7488, www.juliapittcoaching.com.