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.
(A version of this post was published on the blog in 2009 – and it’s still relevant today.)