Merry Menopause Christmas! De-stress This Holiday Season

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Menopause and Christmas can combine to produce exponential amounts of stress. In our constant desire for peace, harmony, and joy, Theresa-Venus and I have a few ideas for more ease and less pressure this holiday season.

1.  Give the best Christmas gift ever to your girlfriends:  no gift. Theresa-Venus and I did this last year and liked it so much we are doing it again. Let’s face it. Most of us at this stage of life feel that we already have too much stuff. The pressure to buy the perfect gift, then wrap it and deliver it is more than we need and can precipitate menopause meltdown.

2.  Jettison the Christmas card or letter.  Most of us are deluged by either chatty, newsy (read long) holiday letters or a lovely card containing nothing but a signature. Some cards have only a printed signature, which may have you wondering “What’s the point?” If you wish to send a yearly update to friends and family, wait until February 14. Frankly, most of us will appreciate it so much more and it won’t get lost in the flood of holiday greetings.

3. Do not bake cookies. With our metabolic rate slowing down and the sedentary days of winter just beginning, we don’t need the sweets or the guilt that comes with eating them. Buy those packages of little carrots shaped like tubes for snacks. Mmmmmm yummy. If you must eat cookies, know that someone else will be giving you some anyway. Do not bake any. And definitely NO cookie exchanges!

4.  Do not wrap gifts. Purchase Christmas gift bags or boxes from your favorite big box or warehouse store. Place each gift in a bag and voila, all the gifts will be wrapped. You will have reclaimed several hours and taken nearly all the stress out of gifting.

5.  Decorate sparingly. Try getting a smaller tree and let the grandkids decorate it. No grandkids yet?  Consider no tree unless you feel that it isn’t Christmas without it.

Put less (or no) lights outside. Strategically placed Santa, Reindeer, and Angel cloth dolls can make your home festive with very little work or time expenditure. You can find these at your local craft fair, drugstore or even grocery store.

Unless you are preparing for a shoot for Architectural Digest or House Beautiful, a frenzy of decorating just isn’t worth it.

6.  Have a Christmas potluck. Don’t spend all day cooking as if you were creating a second Thanksgiving. Go for a walk, have a snowball fight,  play with the kids instead. Read a book aloud as a family or sing carols together.

Your friends and family will not miss any of the usual Christmas trappings and if they do? They’ll soon find that they enjoy being in the company of a relaxed, pleasant, unstressed you much more than all gifts, cookies, and decorations in which you can bury yourself.

There’s a saying most of us have heard. “This moment is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.” Sure, it’s a little corny, but it really is true. Happy holidays.

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9 Responses to Merry Menopause Christmas! De-stress This Holiday Season

  1. goodpix December 9, 2009 at 4:18 pm #

    I was noyt going to put up a tree at all .. I work retail and have to deal with to much Christmas Crap as it is …. however … We had this rubber three that died and was sitting on the porch waitint to be disposed of … I took three oranment and hung them on the tree with a piece of tinsel… Looks like Charlie brown has been here and it that will be all the decorating I will do this year…and enough is plenty

  2. Poetikat December 10, 2009 at 10:56 am #

    I loved this post, Lynette! It all just makes so much sense.
    As I sit down to write my already late Christmas cards, I’m seriously contemplating jettisoning all but a few to family. Thanks! Great ideas — every one of them.

    By the way, your Twitter link in the e-mail appears to be broken (at least for me).

    Happy Destressed Holidays!

    Kat

  3. Lynette Sheppard December 10, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    Even now, I am waiting for the urge to write cards, bake, or get a tree. Since it has not happened yet (and may not) I’m just going to wait and see. Which is causing me to feel very relaxed……..
    Thanks for the heads up on the Twitter link, Kat! I fixed it. And Goodpix – send us a photo of that Charlie Brown Tree – it sounds wonderful to me!

  4. rae December 10, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

    when you feel guilty,about doing less, remember the celebration is really about the birth of Christ! this year, our local economy is just about bottomed out, my little girlfriends, five , all under the age of 11 and were talking about how xmas will be different this year. So they asked is we could make xmas presents, we did this one year in their school and they remembered… that will be my xmas celebration this year making it happen for the girls!!! Mele Kalikimaka you all!!!!

  5. Rori December 10, 2009 at 4:24 pm #

    I loved this! You made it okay for me to forget the cards and not sweat the gifts (though I still feel I have to send some – but maybe not next year!) – Happy Holidays to you…Love, Rori

  6. Anne December 10, 2009 at 10:34 pm #

    Now that I’m on my antidepressant, I’m serene and happy and doing only what I want to do for Xmas. My kids are coming, and I did put up the tree (so many happy memories in each ornament) This is the first year I didn’t cry while decorating the tree (thank you medication!) Many of the ornamanents were from my mom, who died in Oct. I was happy remembering her, so putting up her ornaments gave me joy. Also all the treasured little funny ones my kids made over the years. My kids will be here for Xmas, so I have their stockings ready to go, hung on antique XC skiis. I bought new socks for my son in law and daughter in law. Take joy in finding fun and funky presents for the stockings. The key to destressing is just to keep the holiday traditions that have meaning and joy for you! I like Xmas newsletters, bec/ I hear from folks I haven’t heard from all year. But I do understand the urge to simplify. In years past, during holiday blue periods there were years I rebelled and didn’t decorate at all, and then that was rather sad. If you don’t want to decorate I think you should go to a tropical place or on holiday for Xmas. But even when we lived overseas in tropics, it was really important to the kids to keep Xmas w/ family traditions.
    Do what makes you happy & fulfilled. Happy Holidays!

  7. rae December 13, 2009 at 2:56 pm #

    loved that you got this blog out there, I will print it and my honey will pick it up and read it cause its in the examiner.com !

  8. Paperpetal December 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    I’m in total agreement about making the holidays something that is meaningful to you–not what tradition and pressures tell you it should mean. I’ve paired a lot of unnecessary tasks out of my holidays, though it has been a process that has taken time and adjustment.
    However, I’m a writer so I actually look forward to sending holiday greetings every year. Just wanted to share this experience surrounding the topic:

    My partner and I just combined households, so I added him and his daughter to the annual photo card I send out for my daughter and me. I also decided to send out a humorous “Onion” style newsletter about each of us and our experiences over this year, instead of the formal letter I’ve sent in the past. (Which would have been REALLY long with the new additions to the household.)

    People are really getting a kick out of the newsletter format and like the idea of reading semi-ficticious things about us (such as my partner’s daughter being so good at digital photography that the National Portrait Gallery wants her to photograph President Obama) instead of a ho-hum list of what I’ve come to term as, “our obnoxious achievements.” Staying in touch with others is important to me at this time of year–but it doesn’t have to be stale!

  9. LynetteSh December 16, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    Thanks for a great sharing, Paperpetal. I love the fictitious newsletter idea – too funny. My husband and I have decided to do a photo collage as our holiday offering – sort of the year in pictures. That will actually be fun! Am decorating this am with stuffed santa, moose, and angel dolls. Should take all of about 15 mins……I’m already having happy hoidays!

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