The holiday season is full of magic and wonder — until your flight gets cancelled, your budget is blown and you fall ill at the worst possible time. Fortunately, staying merry despite common holiday conundrums is easier than you think with the right attitude and a few simple steps. Here are some of the most notorious holiday hurdles, with practical advice for overcoming them and enjoying the best of the season.
Holiday hang-up: Blown budget
The holidays can get expensive fast. Buying something for everyone on your list shouldn’t put you in debt. Instead, think outside the box.
Solution: Organise a gift exchange where each person draws one name and buys one gift. Additionally, consider homemade gifts to cut costs, as well as experiences, like taking children sledding or ice skating.
Holiday hang-up: Sickness
From holiday travellers being confined in planes and trains to loved ones gathering under one room for festivities, it’s no surprise that germs are rampant during the holidays. Germs are not a gift anyone wants to receive and they can quickly strip a joyous occasion of all its fun. In fact, a recent survey by Robitussin found that 68 per cent of people have been sick and miserable during holiday gatherings and 24 per cent have had a holiday gathering ruined because a family member was sick.
Solution: It is the season of giving, but sharing your germs isn’t. One sick person at dinner can turn the whole family sick. If you’re still not feeling yourself when festivities are occurring, it’s best to stay home. Try putting on comfy pajamas and binge watching your favourite holiday movies while you rest up. Sure, it stinks to miss the fun, but in the long run you’re protecting others from getting sick and giving yourself the rest you need to get well again.
Holiday hang-up: Children get the “gimmes”
Commercialism runs high during the holiday season. Children’s wish lists seem to grow with each passing day. You want them to focus on the “season of giving” and they want to focus on “the season of getting.”
Solution: Show children how good it feels to give back. There are many ways to help those in need, especially around the holidays. Try volunteering at a local nonprofit, donating gifts to a local shelter or assisting an elderly neighbour by shovelling their driveway. Be sure to encourage your children to participate, too.
Holiday hang-up: Travel problems
Whether it’s a missed connection, delayed flight or the weather is too bad to drive, travel is difficult during the holiday season.
Solution: If you’re stuck at home, make the best of it with a staycation. Sleep in, make yourself a big breakfast and do all the things you never get to do. Explore the fun that’s available in your hometown, whether that’s a trip to the museum or splurging on tickets to the local theatre. Spontaneous adventures can be some of the most memorable.
Holiday hang-up: You burned the food
Did you mess up Grandma’s famous apple pie? Do your gingerbread men look a little deranged? Are your children concerned that Santa will refuse your holiday cookies? Kitchen fails happen to even the most skilled chefs.
Solution: Always have a backup. An extra store-bought pie or cookies in the cupboard provide peace of mind. Plus, during the holiday crunch, avoid trying new recipes. Best to stick to tried-and-true for the best shot at success.
Holiday hang-up: Unexpected party guests
When your cousin RSVP’d for one but ended up bringing his new girlfriend, there’s no need to panic. Unexpected holiday guests can put you in a tailspin, but being flexible is all part of a memorable holiday adventure.
Solution: Don’t stress! Now is a good time to remember the old saying, “the more the merrier!” Put out an extra table setting, grab that bottle from the cupboard and slap a bow on the top for a quick gift. Savvy hosts and hostesses will plan ahead by keeping a few extra gifts on hand, so whether there’s an extra child looking for a present under the tree or an adult who needs a bit of holiday magic, you’re always set with the perfect present.