Have you ever been so hungry that you wolfed down an entire meal, only to realize you never really tasted any of it?
Not only is this incredibly unhealthy, but it also takes the joy out of food. That’s why experts say you should eat slower and take the time to really savor your meals.
(You guessed it. Here comes the seasonal tie-in…)
So, when it comes to the holidays (ding ding!), are you a speed-eater or a savorer?
With Christmas just a week away, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Panic rises in your chest as the emails flood your inbox with special discounts and reminders that “TODAY IS THE LAST DAY YOU CAN ORDER YOUR STUFF IF YOU DON’T WANT TO RUIN CHRISTMAS.” (Ours is December 19, but that’s beside the point.)
Before you start hyperventilating, we want to remind you that everything is fine. You don’t need to run to Target again for that one thing you think your daughter might like. You don’t need to go out and buy five extra neighbor gifts just in case you forgot someone. (Seriously, if there was ever a year when people are going to understand if things don’t go perfectly as planned, this is it.)
So if the hustle and bustle of the holidays has got you feeling frantic, here are a few ways you can slow things down and truly savor the season.
Get your bake on
Remember how at the beginning of the pandemic, people were suddenly baking sourdough bread like there was no tomorrow? Turns out, they weren’t so crazy! Studies show that baking actually helps reduce stress and anxiety. And of all the coping mechanisms out there, this one is probably the tastiest.
There’s something particularly fun about rolling out some dough or throwing a batch of festive cookies in the oven during the holiday season. (Really, who doesn’t love Christmas cookies?) For bonus points, share your yummy creations with family, friends, or neighbors. You’ll feel all warm and toasty inside (and you’ll spare yourself a few calories in the process, so it’s a double win).
Go see the lights
Do you ever find yourself Googling “things to do with my family for Christmas that are covid safe”? Because we have the answer! Just hop in the car, crank up the Christmas carols on the radio, and find the best Christmas light decorations near you.
Sure, you could pay for the venues that set up professionally-made displays, but don’t discount the decorating prowess of people around your neighborhood. If you have little kids, you can even make a game of it. (“If you find five snowmen, we’ll go get ice cream!”)
Fun, easy, and free? You can’t go wrong!
Tune in to some tunes
Ahhhhh, Christmas music. It comes but once a year (or every month, if you’re like some of us. *cough*) and it can lift your spirits faster than anything. (Disclaimer: this promise does not apply to *all* Christmas music. We suggest skipping songs about wanting hippopotamuses for Christmas, seeing mommy kissing Santa Claus, or grandmas getting run over by reindeer. But you be the judge.)
Some Christmas classics tug at the heartstrings (hello, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas” by Judy Garland or anything by The Carpenters).
Some transport you back to your childhood (think “Rudolph” or “Frosty”).
Some immediately fill you with nostalgia (Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” or Nat King Cole’s version of “The Christmas Song”).
Some even get your adrenaline pumping (“Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra).
For a relaxing evening, sip some hot cocoa by the Christmas tree and listen to these holiday hits.
Enjoy a Christmas movie classic
Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without a nod toward the movies that make this season bright. You could go down the Hallmark movie rabbit hole of cheesy Christmas films (no offense if this is your cup of tea), but the classics are classics for a reason.
In the mood for something sweet and sentimental, or do you prefer a little more comedy? You’ll find whatever you’re looking for on this list of the Best Christmas Movies of All Time. (Spoiler: If you haven’t seen “It’s a Wonderful Life” yet, you might want to start with this one.)
Take a stroll down memory lane
Remember how the holidays were so much simpler when you were a kid? You never stressed about making sure you bought enough gifts for everyone. You didn’t worry about cooking the perfect turkey or having the cleanest house. You just ate the chocolates in your advent calendar and eagerly awaited Christmas morning. Remind yourself of those good old days by looking at an old photo album or home video of Christmases past.
If you want to take things a step further, post the photo on social media and tag your siblings or other family members who might appreciate a reminder of simpler times. Try to remember what made the holidays so magical when you were that young and see if you can’t channel a bit of that magic into your adult life.
Stop — and PLAY
We’ve all got our to-do lists -- especially during the holiday season. Whether it’s shopping, cleaning, wrapping gifts, baking treats, mailing cards, or trying to get a work project done before winter break, everyone’s been there.
But did you know there’s such a thing as being too productive? Yup. It’s a thing. According to Business Insider, when your input becomes disproportionate to your output and you start ignoring other aspects of your life, then productivity has become your enemy.
How many times did you say “in a minute!” to your kids the last time they asked you for attention? Or the classic “maybe later” if they want you to play with them? Here’s an idea: set a timer on your phone for 15 minutes and go do whatever your kids want to do. Have a snowball fight. Watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Even better, just drop what you’re doing and take them ice skating.
In most cases, the work can wait. And your future self will thank you.
Perform simple acts of service
We personally believe the holidays just wouldn’t be complete without an opportunity to serve and show your love for those around you. But if the word “service” has you hyperventilating as you look at your packed or overburdened schedule, don’t worry -- we’re talking simple random acts of kindness.
Not really sure where to start? We’ve got some great ideas for you. Just click here.
Consider altering your traditions
Okay, we’re not talking about removing ALL your beloved, long-standing family traditions. Just the ones that are causing undue stress. Not feeling up to hosting an ugly sweater party this year? Don’t do it! (We prefer cute sweaters anyway. ;))
Maybe you home-make all your neighbors’ gifts every year. Why not just go with store-bought? (Especially from a small business!) Or skip the neighbor gifts altogether if it’s just too much. Again, in case you need someone to tell you this, IT’S OKAY. Everyone will be fine.
And here’s one that’s really going to cause some controversy, so brace yourself: maybe stop giving your kids Christmas presents. (We can hear the audible gasps, but stay with us.) Instead, give the gift of memories. Surprise your kids with a family trip, take them skiing, buy concert tickets -- these are MUCH MORE LIKELY to be remembered than whatever you got them last year. (You had to think about it, didn’t you?)
In fact, our very own SexyModest founders have taken this approach with their own family — and they swear by it. If you want to hear all about why Brigitte and Jason have stopped doing presents on Christmas, you can listen to their whole story here.
What’s your secret to enjoying the holidays?
This list is a good start, but we know you brilliant modest shoppers out there have your own ideas and we’d love to hear them. What helps you slow down and really savor this time of the year?
Leave your comments below!