Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas to all!

It has been a busy few days with putting the finishing touches on the decorating, final gift wrapping and family meals.

Last night my kids (both in their twenties) and my father-in-law joined us for supper, along with my daughter’s boyfriend. It was a fun evening and we all ate much too much (as always seems to happen when we cook so much).

Today we went to my younger sister’s house and enjoyed more family time, ate too much and took family pictures in front of the Christmas tree. I was blessed with gifts on my list, but the family time is much more important.

The day also marks the sixth Christmas without Dad and the second without Mom. I miss them being with us but as is said, “life does go on”.

I think the best thing this year is I was able to spend both Christmas Eve and part of Christmas Day with my kids. They usually split the time between their dad’s place and with us, but this year their dad went to spend Christmas with his in-laws a couple provinces away. For that I am grateful.

Tomorrow will be a day of relaxation and making room in my kitchen for the new dessert dishes, gravy boat and coffee press. I may or may not have to do some rearranging in my cupboards.

The older I get the more I prefer practical gifts. It’s better to have something a person can use and enjoy than something that gets tucked away in a drawer or closet.

In less than a week we’ll be ringing in the new year. I have set some goals for 2020 which involve increasing my client base, creating a new passive income stream and spending more time with family. I’m excited to make 2020 my best year yet and look forward to sharing my progress.

What are your plans for 2020?

5 Ways to Cut Down on Holiday Stress

I made this wreath for the door earlier this afternoon. It has also been posted on my Instagram accounts so if you follow me there, that’s why it probably looks very familiar. Merry Christmas!

Here we are, a week from Christmas Day. It’s hard to believe it has crept up so quickly.

I don’t know about you but I always feel more stressed this time of year than any other. Perhaps it’s because of all the expectations we have of others and ourselves, or perhaps because it’s just so busy.

As I get older I try not to get so stressed out over it because let’s face it; it will come and go whether we’re ready or not. This year I have found a few ways to deal with the stress a little easier. Granted this list may be a little late for some this year, but it’s ‘food for thought’ for other holidays too.

  1. Take some ‘you’ time. I am someone who feels I need to be doing something every waking moment, whether it be reading, working, writing, crafting or household responsibilities. If I’m not doing something I feel guilty. Take a few minutes in the evening to relax and unwind with your beverage of choice, a good book or your favourite TV show. It’s amazing what some quiet time will do to regenerate a person.
  2. Delegate some of the work. If you’re the person hosting Christmas Dinner, it’s okay to ask for others to contribute to the meal. In my family my younger sister is hosting but we’re all taking a favourite dish to help out. I’m taking the popular Broccoli Salad and some baking. Not only will it be less meal preparation for her, but she’ll be able to enjoy the pre-meal visiting without being stuck in the kitchen the entire time.
  3. Enjoy the time together. We decided a few years ago to eat, visit, open gifts then do the cleanup. Of course some of the food needs to be refrigerated relatively quickly, but that’s all that gets done right after the meal. Take the time to visit with each other, play games and watch the kids enjoy their new toys. Dad always said Christmas is for kids and I see now he was right. The dishes won’t be going anywhere so if they don’t get washed right away it’s not the end of the world.
  4. Set a budget. I know most of you reading this will have all of your shopping done by now. I always stress out over how much I’m spending so this year I set a budget for each person and stuck to it. Our family gift exchange is a Secret Santa one with a thirty-five dollar limit which is doable for everyone. Of course I have a little higher limit for my kids as well as a limit for their significant others. I finished my shopping on Monday and as I bought for each person I crossed them off the list. That way I wasn’t spending more than I could afford.
  5. Pay cash or use your debit card. The holiday sales tempt us into buying more than we should. Anyone with a credit card knows just how dangerous that can be. I set money aside this year for Christmas shopping and paid with either cash or using my debit card. I’m not going to have the huge credit card bills that many others will have, so that alone will cut down on the after-holiday stress as well.

The true spirit of Christmas is for spending time with family and friends. You don’t need to break the bank to impress anyone. Do what you can and don’t fret about what you can’t do. The holidays are meant for laughter, sharing a meal (or three) and enjoying the time together. Don’t let the advertisements on TV tempt you into spending more than you can afford.

In closing I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May the season bring joy, good tidings and wonderful memories. And please remember, if you drink don’t drive.

Remembering Dad, and Living Life

Two weeks ago I started a post which was to be dedicated to the fifth anniversary since my dad suddenly passed away. Needless to say, that post didn’t get very far. It was an emotional day for me, but I made the best of it.

My sisters and I had talked about getting together but hadn’t really figured anything out. I decided to throw together a quick meal and took it to my younger sister’s house, where we all got together. It was a simple meal, a beer to toast him and we parted ways. Sometimes the quick meals and get-togethers are the most memorable.

The following couple of days were spent vehicle shopping, and I settled on a 2016 Jeep Patriot. Let’s just say I have Dad to thank. I just wish he was here to see it. I’m sure he would have liked my choice. (Photo below.)

Last week was a work week; and I never seem to get much else accomplished when it’s a work week. I did take Wednesday and went to visit my best friend; something I need to do more of. We used to call each other regularly, and visit frequently when our kids were little. As the kids grew, life got in the way and our time together was all but nonexistent.

Losing both of my parents in less than three and a half years of one another made me realize just how quickly life can change. My best friend lost her mom and step-dad in an accident in April of this year, and so many lives were affected. What I’m saying is we never know what tomorrow will bring, so we need to take advantage of today.

We all have such busy lives, although technology was supposed to make it easier. I think we need to all take a step back sometimes and put the phones and computers away, and just go visit family and friends. No one is going to regret not working, but they will (and so often do) regret not spending time with each other. I know I have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to spending time with friends.

Something else I did today was surprise my daughter at work. Seeing her eyes light up when I walked into the office was so worth it. And it probably didn’t hurt to have an Iced Cappuccino in hand for her either. 🙂

It’s those moments that really count, and make life worth living. I can burn the midnight oil and get my work done (current WIP is a reference guide for romance authors) after the house is quiet. Enjoying my time with my kids is worth losing sleep over.

Photo by Diane Ziomek. My new SUV.

Do you take time to visit family and friends?