Surviving the crush: How do you cope with the holiday madness?

holiday madnessFor those of you who celebrate Christmas, what fragrant, beauty, or relaxing rituals do you employ to help you keep your sanity during this season of holiday madness? Or for those of you who don’t celebrate it, how do you deal with and/or avoid the craziness that the season brings?

A massage, a pedicure or manicure? A long, relaxing bubble bath? A coffee or tea break with an old friend? An hour (or three) tucked in a comfy chair with a favorite book?

Or are you one of those thrill-seekers who thrive on the energetic buzz of crowds, the excitement of a busy shopping area and the thrill of the hunt for a parking space?

I used to be a little of the above, excitedly setting my alarm clock for a very early hour and hitting the a.m. blockbuster sales, loving the trek up and down crowded beauty aisles with SAs waving GWPs at passers-by, but no more. As I got older, and especially after becoming a mom, my get-up-and-go, shop-’til-you-drop spirit kind of got up and went.

Now I try to do as much online as I can. And if I must brave the brick-and-mortar retail world and the ensuing holiday madness, I aim for 11 a.m. or so on a Monday or Tuesday. And most definitely BEFORE the week of Dec. 20, when stores seem to be the least busy (relatively speaking).

As for relaxing, while my son and husband have the TV going full-tilt in the den, I retreat to our formal living room at the front of the house. Armed with a good book and a big cup of tea, I light a candle or two and bask in the soft glow of the Christmas tree and the outside lights reflected in the windows. Surrounded by antique furniture that belonged to my grandparents (who raised me), I find a cozy, comforting, nostalgic vibe there that soothes me and has me easing into the world of whatever book I’m reading. Right now, I’m editing a manuscript for a friend of a friend (mostly a mystery but with a little romance thrown in) and even though I’m having to pay strict attention and mark the pages, I’m enjoying the story, too. And that in itself relaxes me, transporting me far away from the holiday madness.

Later this week, I’m looking forward to staying home and baking cookies with my son as well, and perhaps helping my DH break in the new smoker he got for an early Christmas gift. And of course, staying far, far away from any type of shopping establishment (and movie theatre, ha!). The local Kroger will be about as adventurous as I get, and it will take a semi-emergency in the kitchen to get me to brave that.

What about you? Let us know how you cope with the holiday madness.
BTW, speaking of movie theatres, have any of you seen the new “Star Wars” film? Feel free to share your thoughts about it. I’d like to see it, but perhaps in, oh, let’s say, February or March? 🙂

Seriously, though, I wish each and every one of you a safe, enjoyable and blessed season as 2015 comes to a close.

  • odonata9 says:

    Late comment, but thought I’d say hello! I do almost all my shopping online. I don’t buy for many people, but now that we have kids, we are doing a bit more in terms of the activities, decorating, and presents as well. I’m all done and just have some wrapping left to do tonight. i talked with friend with younger kids yesterday and he mentioned his family was doing almost no gifts, and just cheap stuff as kids don’t know value so opening an inexpensive gift is just as good as opening an expensive one. So I’m going to try and enjoy this time before they are asking for iPhones and whatever else and keep buying to a minimum. Relaxing is turning on all the Christmas lights and watching White Christmas or other specials with a boozy eggnog or hot chocolate.

    I did see Star Wars last week. It was great. I highly recommend it – even if you aren’t a superfan like myself.

    • Ann says:

      Never too late, dear, and so glad you stopped by! I like your friend’s idea — when they’re little they really seem to enjoy the excitement and tearing into the wrapping paper, ha! Save the $$$ while you can. 🙂 And thanks for weighing in on “Star Wars.” Being old enough to have grown up with and loved the ’70s–’80s films, I was wondering if this new one would be a little off-putting. (Silly, I know, but I always harbored this secret hope that Princess Leia and Han Solo stayed together all these years.) I might have to brave the theatre sooner rather than later now. Thanks and have a wonderful holiday with the kiddos!

  • Neva says:

    Thank you for your nice wishes Ann. This year due to the fact that my daughter is far, far away on her internship in the US I don’t really feel like celebrating much. Of course I have baked some cookies and decorated my appartment, enjoyed my Diptyque Noisetier scented candle, but I didn’t go on a shopping spree as usual. Only my closest family members will get presents and I bought nice little L’Occitane shower gels for my girlfriends. I avoid the rush in the shopping malls as much as possible and aim strictly at shops I intend to buy something at.
    I’m looking forward to the week between Christmas and New Year: reading books, watching retro movies, enjoying hot baths with Lush bath bombs, going to the theater or concert hall (no movies, I’m not really a Star Wars fan). I hope to recuperate and muster some energy for the coming period.
    I wish everyone a holiday season full of joy and peace!

    • Ann says:

      Thank you, Neva. Sorry to hear your daughter is away; I know you must miss her terribly. But it looks like you’ve put together some nice, quiet holiday time for yourself. And your week between Christmas and New Year’s sounds as if it will be most relaxing. Take care and enjoy!

  • Diana says:

    I don’t celebrate any of the holidays this time of year (Christmas, Hanukkah, etc..) and haven’t for about 15 years now. It just got to be so stressful that I decided to boycott it all. With no children or a SO, that wasn’t so difficult. I stay away from malls between Thanksgiving and New Years day, but spend the rest of January scouring stores for things I need/want at deeply discounted prices. Otherwise, the days off work are spent getting odds and ends done around the house (cleaning, ironing, etc..), watching movies, ordering in Chinese food and cuddling with the dog. 🙂

    • Ann says:

      I hear you, Diana! It really has gotten too stressful, so we all need to dial it back. Sounds like you’ve got the right idea, watching movies, ordering in and having cuddle time with the pup. Enjoy! And it’s nice to get things done around the house with no pressure, too. Our last few days have been spent getting a roof leak repaired and installing a new kitchen faucet and turn-off switch. Not fun, but necessary. Take care …

  • Mariann says:

    I would say extra sleep and naps, cookies :), quiet time with books and drinks with friends are whats on my agenda. Possibly a movie (star wars eeek). But the motto is definitely unwind!
    Wishing everyone relaxing holidays, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  • tammy says:

    Even before the World Wide Intertwebz came into being, I shopped all year and was usually finished up by the week after Thanksgving. I tended to date musicians and/or nerds, family members and friends are also generally musicians, nerds, artists, jocks or collectors of some sort, husband is a musician who geeks out on audio-visual/digital editing equipment, so stand-alone stores were/are where I get my shopping done; I didn’t have to brave the mall much.

    But despite getting somewhat anxious in crowds, I would always pick a day to go to the “fancy” mall (South Coast Plaza) and soak it all in. Since I was through shopping, I didn’t have to wait in any lines, or feel panicky over not being able to find anything. The excitement in the air was palpable and I never saw any ugliness. (Inside the mall, at least; the parking lot could get very ugly!) It was really fun and I looked forward to it every year.

    Now that live out in the woods again, I kind of miss the Christmas buzz you get in large metropolitan areas. I also miss all the specialty stores, and even chain stores like World Market. Damn, I really miss World Market! Every year I say I’m going to plan a weekend trip to St Louis or Nashville to get my Christmas-in-the-Big-City fix, but I always forget to! Someone remind me next year,’k?

    Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it and may everyone be blessed in the New Year ahead!

    • Ann says:

      Hey, Tammy! I love the idea of shopping all year long. I try to do it to a certain extent as well, but have to be really careful because a time or two, I bought stuff and hid it away so well that I couldn’t find it. It turned up later and wound up being a birthday gift or for the next Christmas, ha! Do try to get your big city fix sometime when you can, It’d be a nice treat, especially nice if all your shopping is done and you can just take your sweet time and browse. BTW, I’m right there with you on World Market. Ours closed a few years ago and I miss it something fierce, too. So much good stuff in there! Merry Christmas to you as well, dear!

  • Sherri M. says:

    Hi sweet Ann! Between the fact my kids are getting older and need/prefer cash and a knee injury, I have drastically cut back on shopping this year, which makes me a little sad because I LOVE shopping and buying presents. What little I’ve done, I done early in the morning on Monday – Wednesdays. I can usually get in and out quickly then. I ordered a lot on line; now I am getting nervous as I am still missing 3 out of 12 pairs of Christmas pajamas, plus quite a few other cute little gifts I found, which is a little upsetting. Do I re-order them or cross my fingers they’ll make it here on time??!

    I didn’t do so many gifts for teachers and friends this year. After the holiday dies down I want to let them know I haven’t forgotten them. I’m just thankful I didn’t have to have surgery right before Christmas which would have been tough. I’ve been taking comfort in trying some of the many samples I’ve had lying around, and discovered Rose of No Man Land, which is very comforting rose scent.

    • Ann says:

      Oh, darling, so sorry to hear about the knee injury. Hope you can rest and recover at least a little over the holidays. Did the retailers you bought the PJs from give you tracking nos., so at least you can see their delivery progress? Although I wouldn’t worry too much; I think there’ll be a huge rush/glut of package deliveries over the next three days and they should probably come in that. Glad you’re enjoying samples — that Byredo sounds yummy. Take care and have a merry and blessed Christmas!

  • Portia says:

    Hey Ann,
    Normally I would have all my shopping done by the start of December. This year though I am WAY behind. All the buddies are bought for but the inner circle remains undone. Tomorrow morning by 10am I’ll be shopping my admittedly very smell list. 5 gifts. I’ve been thinking long and hard about them and I’m pretty sure of what to purchase.
    Actually, I’m looking forward to it. It will be an adventure..
    Portia xxx

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Portia! Sounds like you’ve got a plan to jump in there and get all your business done. And it most definitely will be an adventure; here’s hoping it’s the good kind through and through, with some fun surprises (sweet, chatty SAs) and even some goodies/samples for you. 🙂

  • eldarwen22 says:

    Braved the crowds yesterday to finish my Christmas shopping. I was about $50 over budget. So if I have to get any other gift, it’s going to be a gift card. I’m not braving the mall again. I refuse to drive myself crazy. I don’t know why people do that or just be plain nasty. I saw a lot of it yesterday at the mall. So I am just going to hang around the house.

    • Ann says:

      So sorry you had to experience the ugly/unpleasant side of the holiday season. But at least you’re pretty much done with it now. Staying at home sounds like a lovely idea to me as well. Take care …

  • poodle says:

    I try to get my shopping done early so I can avoid Christmas shoppers. They’re rather nasty the closer you get to the holiday. I also try to have some quiet time and get plenty of sleep. I always used to get run down and sick for Christmas so now I make it a point to take care of myself this time of year.
    Merry Christmas! I hope Santa is good to you.

    • Ann says:

      Hiya, Poodle! So glad you’re taking care of yourself and staying well through the holidays. That’s really the most important thing. Thanks, and you have a wonderful Christmas, too, dear!

  • HeidiC says:

    Working out and showering with a luxe shower gel afterwards. That, plus cozy scents like Ciel de GUM (glad I gave in and got a decant!), Chergui, or Ambre Nazgul, and a good tawny port like Penfold’s Grandfather, and I’m reasonably sane.

    • Ann says:

      Oh, yes, Heidi — a lovely shower gel makes you feel so pampered. Squeee — I am so excited that you love the Ciel de Gum, too — I may have to go have a dab myself. Enjoy your decant!

  • tiffanie says:

    Sleep is the key to holiday sanity for my family. It’s ok for me to stay up late as long as there is time for an extra hour of sleep in the morning or a nap in the afternoon. And it is great to sleep in for a morning or two, but then I make a point to wake up myself and the kids close to our regular schedule for a few days so that re-entry into post-holiday work and school schedules is not too hard.

    And we try to have some quiet time each day. I love sitting in a peaceful place with a book and something warm to drink, too.

    • Ann says:

      Amen, Tiffanie! That extra sleep is pretty awesome, but you’re right — good to get back into the routine a few days before you have to. I love me some quiet time as well. Hope you and your family have a lovely holiday!