Surviving the Holidays

So, we survived Halloween. Whew! Now, comes Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. As we move into the Holiday Season life tends to get a little more hectic and chaotic. We pressure ourselves to get that perfect gift, prepare an impeccable Thanksgiving feast, bake the picture-perfect pie, and be the ideal parent, spouse and friend. The obligations pile on day after day until we are ready to snap. Sound familiar?

Now, add that to an already stressed out year where there never seems to be enough time in the day and the budget is stretched beyond it’s limits. No wonder we can’t just sit back, remember what we’re grateful for and watch the snow fall as we read that novel we’ve been dying to get to.

Don’t give up. You can survive the holidays. But the answer might be counterintuitive. When we are pulled in a million different directions; family, work, holiday obligations, etc… we tend to leave out time for ourselves. Well, don’t. Take a few minutes to decompress.

Read a blog, go for a walk, lock yourself in a room and meditate. Whatever helps you relax… take the time to do it. Daily. Seriously, think about it. Will ten minutes really make you blow that dinner? No, but it just might give you the strength you need to finish out the day. If you go for a quick walk to rejuvenate, will you have to skip buying that perfect gift for Uncle Joe? Can your kids get by with 12 gifts rather than a baker’s dozen… and will they even notice? No, the world will not fall apart if you engage in a little “me” time. And I submit, the world might actually be a tad bit better for it. Because, you will be in control and better able to cope with the chaos instead of teetering on that precipice about to fall over the proverbial 100 foot cliff.


Here are three tips to get you started…

  • Utilize technology to help with planning and organization
  • Control Social Media, don’t let it control you
  • Develop and maintain a budget
Utilize Technology(Oganization & Panning)

So, “How do I get started?” you might ask. For most of us, our day to day life is already hectic and chaotic enough. Between working full-time, to family obligations, to neighborhood events — we find it hard to squeeze everything in already and still have time for ourselves. – 9 –

Then along comes the holidays and we have social and religious gatherings, family get-togethers, shopping, cooking, and house work on top of all the regular day to day stuff. It’s no wonder a season that should be spent appreciating life, catching up with relatives and enjoying the wonder in our children’s eyes has become a time of increased stress, family fights and chaos. Well, fear not… there is hope. Wait for it – there’s an App for that.


Utilize your phone to your advantage. There are hundreds of apps out there to help you with this process. Here are a few resources I located to get your started. There are a wide range of choices from holiday music and games to list development, recipes and menu planning. Go wild, most of them are free so what do you have to lose?


‣ Top Free Android Apps for Holiday Season (click here)

‣ 9 Best Christmas Apps for Android (click here)

‣ Top Android Apps for Christmas & Holiday Season (click here)

‣ 12 Free Android, IOS Apps for Holiday (click here)

‣ The Christmas Gift List (click here)

‣ Best Shopping List (click here)

‣ 10 Best iPad/iPhone Apps for Planning your Holiday Trip (click here)

‣ Best Holiday Apps (Games & Activities) (click here)

‣ Martha Stewart Festive Holiday Apps for iPhone (click here)


Controlling Social Media

Social Media… friend or foe? I would submit that it is both. These days it’s easier than ever to maintain long distance relationships through social media. We can also cultivate amazing new friends around the world. But, sometimes there’s a downside, right?

So, how does this impact the holidays? You’re feeling confident things will go off without a hitch due to your amazing new planning skills. It’s going to be the best holiday season — EVER! Then, you sit down for a little “Me Time”, scroll through your newsfeed and WHAM…blindsided. Just when you hit that calm, serene happy place someone posts a picture that offends you. Or a “friend” makes a statement that angers you, somebody frustrates you or insults everything you believe in. Within seconds, you are stressed out, irritated and maybe even angry. How do you recover and cope with the conflict? There are two important things to remember.

First, keep things in perspective.

Facebook & Twitter friends aren’t really your friends. Of course, some of them are… very good ones in fact. But some are also new contacts, acquaintances, business colleagues & people you once knew a long time ago. My point is this… with a mix of several hundred people,  there are bound to be some (maybe even a lot) who have different beliefs, morals, experiences and standards than you do. Be willing to accept them for who they are… different beliefs, morals, experiences, & all. Not everyone is going to feel exactly the same way you do about everything — and that’s okay. Their story is different than yours. Their experiences, life lessons & priorities may not align with yours completely. If it’s not possible to accept them for who they are, you shouldn’t be friends in the first place. Which brings me to the second thing to remember. Understand your circle of control. What do I mean by that? Well, there are things you can control (i.e., your words, actions, ideas & mistakes) & things you cannot control (i.e., others mistakes, words & reactions). Focus on those things you can control, let the rest go. When you get upset, ask yourself — Is it worth losing my friend over a Social Media argument? If not, walk away, keep scrolling, and don’t engage. Most of all—Don’t be a cyber bully. Conversely, you don’t have to let others bully you.

The key to everything is moderation. If you find yourself spending massive amounts of time online, force yourself to take a break. Walk away, go shopping with a loved one, or impose a mandatory cool down period before responding to any contentious meme, statement or photo. Control your social media interactions, don’t let social media control you.

Develop & Maintain a Budget

Why budget? Because if you don’t plan ahead, you will spend more than you think. Marketers know the best way to get their customers to impulse by, is to prey on their emotions.

If you are committed to sticking to a budget, you won’t wake up December 26th and discover you’ve spent twice as much as you can actually afford. When developing a budget be sure to include everything; gifts, entertainment & parties, meals, travel, and spending goals. Then determine the maximum amount you can afford to spend. Now you are ready to develop a budget. There are probably as many ways as there are people to budget for the holidays. The trick is finding the one that will work for you. But you’re in luck, again, you can rely on an App to assist you. OR… There are tons of articles on the internet to get you started.

Here are a few that might help…

‣ Holiday Shopping Budget (click here)

‣ Printable Budget Form (click here)

‣ Interactive Planner (click here)

‣ How to Stick to Your Holiday Budget (click here)

‣ 10 Tips for Holiday Shopping on a Budget (click here)

‣ 8 Tips to Help You Control Spending (click here)

‣ Tips for Avoiding a Holiday Spending Hangover (click here)

‣ 10 Last-Minute Holiday Shopping Tips (click here)

‣ Top 9 Apps for the Holidays (click here)

‣ Christmas Gifts & Budget (Android) (click here)

‣ The Christmas List (iPhone) (click here)

In conclusion, the holidays are supposed to be about love & happiness, enjoying friends & family, & for Christians – Christ. Don’t let stress, unnecessary aggravations or limited funds get in the way of appreciating the little things. Because life is short and the holidays are about enjoying the moment while you can.

Happy Holidays Everyone!



Melanie P. Smith was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has an Associates of Science degree in Marketing, a bachelor’s in business management, and a Masters Certificate in Conflict Resolution, Negotiation and Mediation. Melanie served as a support member in Law Enforcement for 26 years before retiring in 2016. During that time, she worked closely with the department’s specialty units to include K9, Motors, SWAT, Search & Rescue and the Mounted Posse. In addition, she coordinated communications and logistics for the SWAT Team and was a member of the Child Abduction Response Team’s Logistical Unit. She has always had an adventurous spirit and has been sky-diving and rappelling. She owns an ATV, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and is an amateur photographer.

For years Melanie has used her creative writing skills for office related tasks such as awards programs and web content. Then one day, she decided it was time to start writing for fun again. Her stories are exciting, action packed, and gripping. Her characters are classy, memorable and strong-willed. If you are looking for a story that you can’t put down, one that will keep you guessing as you embark on a rollercoaster journey of discovery, then you are definitely in the right place.

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