Two years ago, I was in Paris for Christmas.
May I add that the energy was so different than the Christmas craze I had left behind in the States.
Excitement, elegance and joie de vivre were palpable as I walked through the Marais.
I returned home with a new sense of what the holidays should feel like.
With just five days until Christmas, I’ve been getting an influx of emails from readers desiring a less stressful and more elegant holiday. Today, I’m going to channel my inner Frenchie for answers to the questions you’ve asked. Plus, I’m answering a few personal questions about my own Christmas experience.Question #1
I am stressing out over the holidays because I am the self-declared master of family memories. I have taken it upon myself to make everything perfect and therefore suck the life out of Christmas. As a mother of three, wife, and teacher, I am busier than is humanly possible (like every other mother), but every evening I feel frustrated. Frustrated that I didn’t get a chance to journal, frustrated that I over-ate (again), frustrated that I let another day go by without figuring out who I am and what I need. So yes, I am definitely stressed about the holidays and looking forward to reading more tips and ideas from your lovely life!
1. Become the Self-Declared Master of Your Own Joy. What’s a family memory if mama is miserable making it?
2. Keep it Simple. Frustration, overwhelm and stress is often caused by adding too much to our plates. What can you begin to simplify? What are you currently doing that’s draining your joy?
3. Create non-negotiables. You are the creator of your life experience, and if you want to journal, have 10 minutes of solitude, time for self-reflection, then it’s up to you to create that space for yourself. Sure, you may have to let go of a perfectly decorated tree, but as you create the time for what’s truly important to you, you gain momentum towards more joy. At some point, you must CHOOSE to get off the hamster wheel. No one’s going to stop it for you. Start small and you’ll see big changes in how you feel.Question #2
How do I avoid overspending at Christmas?
Easy. Give love, not ego.
Most people try to impress with their gifts, only to leave themselves unimpressed when the New Year rolls around.
There are so many ways to gift love – baked cookies, a decadent dinner, a favorite book, quality time.
If you don’t have it, don’t spend it.
You’ll thank me when your credit card bill arrives in January!Question #3
I’m alone this Christmas, and I’m already feeling sad. Suggestions on how to make this Christmas magical?
Magic lives inside you. It’s not out there to be found.
So, look through your magical eye and you’ll awe and wonder around. Isn’t that what Christmas is about anyway?
Here are my suggestions:
1. Throw a Christmas party and invite others who are riding out the holiday solo. There’s someone just like you who is looking for some Christmas magic. Why not create it for another?
2. Volunteer at a local shelter – for people or animals. The holiday season is about gifting, so gift your time to those who are looking for a little love and affection.
3. Put on your most beautiful dress and go out to dinner . There are restaurants that cater to those who are looking for an alternative Christmas. Sit at the bar and flirt with the bartender to spice things up. You may be surprised at what the night has in store.
4. Go on a last minute road trip. Magic is found when you break outside of your current way of doing things and open yourself to wonder.
5. Buy yourself a beautiful gift. Wrap it. Place it under the tree. Open it while sipping a glass of Champagne.Question #4
I always hate Christmas Day because I overeat and lose control. How can I prevent myself from doing it again this year?
Darling, who doesn’t overindulge a little on Christmas? Even the French woman occasionally overdoes it. It’s only an issue if it’s an ongoing cycle. So, give yourself permission to enjoy and take maximum pleasure out of your food. Also, become a food snob. Don’t eat just anything. Eat only the best of what you love. These are the rules I have in place for my dining at all times, and ironically, I rarely stuff myself.
But, an occasional indulgence? Absolutely!
You’ll also feel better if you create space for a little physical activity on Christmas Day. I’m not talking about an all-out sweat session, but a stroll with family, an afternoon of skiing or, even better, a dance party!
Simply put: enjoy your holiday sans the guilt!Question #5
What’s your favorite gift to give?
Quality time + fine chocolates and books of poetry.Question #6
What’s on your Christmas menu?
For a late lunch, I’m expecting a Southern Feast since I’ll be with my family in North Carolina. Oh, and Champagne!Question #7
What are you wearing on Christmas Day?
I haven’t decided yet, but I know it will be a dress, a little sparkle, heels and lipstick, of course!Question #8
How can I make this Christmas special?
It all starts within you. Wake up and decide how you want to feel for the day. Let every word, action, decision come from that place. Regardless of what’s happening around you, when you become a woman who chooses her own experience, life becomes your playground to create whatever your heart desires.
And, don’t forget the little touches – an elegant bow, a decadent piece of chocolate, beautifully scented candles.
What are your feelings about New Year’s Resolutions?
Resolutions bore me. I stopped them years ago. I have a better way to start the New Year, and this year I’ll be inviting you along on the adventure.
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To a Magical Holiday,
Photos Credits: (1)