The Stress-free Holiday

Around our house we’ve developed a new stress-free ritual for the holidays.

It usually involves a hike or long ramble in the woods, some great food, lots of laughter and most importantly, nothing that causes us major amounts of stress.

I can’t take credit for starting our new holiday ritual. It began through no lack of planning of a pretty good-sized gathering of friends for a Thanksgiving dinner, and it was our first major feasting holiday together. My boyfriend, Mr. Cornish and I planned and prepared and invited thinking to create a dinner that introduced some of our best friends to each other. But all was for naught, it seems that even into one’s fourth decade, “friends-giving” is often hard to manage. Some friends went home to family for the holiday, others had long-standing plans to eat at Middle Eastern restaurants (Which are so packed that you can’t hope to get a table in last minute). Still other friends over or under-judged their level of possible jet lag and so were unable to make it to our home in the final hours.

OUR NEW HOLIDAY RITUAL DEMANDS LAUGHTER AND SILLINESS AND REMEMBERING THAT DEEP DOWN INSIDE, WE ARE ALL LITTLE KIDS WHO LIKE TO RELAX, PLAY AND ENJOY OUR LIVES.

It was a happy circumstance

that we found ourselves with lots of wonderful food, (we were able to cancel the turkey), and we decided to take the day and hike with the dog, eat and relax to some football and a movie. The dog approved of the plan and off we went. We had a stress-free day, no friends felt left out and we created our newest family ritual, “stress-free holidays”.

Since American Christmas is often really a two-day event involving Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we felt like we’d been giving a mini-vacation this week. We have a tree up and have been enjoying the lights and sparkles for two weeks. The cat sees the rug underneath as her own private woodland den and the dog just ignores the oohs and aahs that we make each evening when we plug the lights in.

Yesterday was the first of our two stress-free days and we allowed ourselves a get-lost-in-the-local-woods-for-hours ramble. The dog nosed around through leaves, looking for mice and other varmints while we proceeded to follow horse-trail after horse-trail through the trees. We saw an owl and lots of deer and I even found a few eagle feathers near a log. By the time we made it to the car, we were laughingly tired and all of us ready for food and drinks. Christmas Eve dinner involved oysters, champagne and trout. Simple, fast and fun. We presented the dog with her holiday bone, and climbed into bed at 9:30 pm, utterly happy and tired. (I’ll be honest, writing that makes me laugh! Whoever thought I’d be happy going to bed before ten p.m. like some farmer, but when I remember that I usually am up around three a.m. to write… it makes sense and it keeps me sane).

Whoever thought I’d be happy going to bed before ten p.m.?

Mr. Cornish agrees because he gently roused me this morning at four a.m. (remember the champagne last night….?) and I rolled myself into clothes and a cup of tea in the kitchen so I could sit down to write. It actually makes me really happy to do this and I love the early hours of the morning, as any of you know who have been been following this post for a while.

It’s Christmas Day

and since neither of us is religious we have day two of our no-stress holiday to enjoy. There’s a cold wind currently whipping the trees around, cold enough to bring even my Husky-mix in after 20 minutes outside. After yesterdays’ hike we might take a shorter amble round the neighbourhood today. We have planned a Middle Eastern dinner of mixed origin, some good wine and some amazing cupcakes that Mr. Cornish baked yesterday morning. There will be football watched, a book or two read, perhaps a nap or some yoga practice. We might even decide to catch a movie or rearrange the furniture, there’s no real tellin’. What I can promise you is that there won’t be work emails, or phone calls or anything computer related that doesn’t make us laugh.

Our new holiday ritual demands laughter and silliness and remembering that deep down inside, we are all little kids who like to relax, play and enjoy our lives. I invite you to re-connect to your inner kid on this holiday. The one who laughed at silly jokes, loved getting muddy or messy, or just liked to sit for hours reading a book or taking something apart to discover how it worked. Let that little kid out this holiday and encourage your friends and family to do the same. You are sure to have a memorable and enjoyable holiday!

PS: Yes, you still get to drink the eggnog and eat the cookies! And if you want some more things to make you stress-free, click the link HERE.

Happy Holidays!

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