Chillax! Your at-home hol­i­day en­ter­tain­ing guide

Cock­tails! Com­fort food! Board games! Hot party tunes! Host­ing tips and host­ess gifts! Decor ideas! Now re­lax. Here’s your smart guide to hol­i­day en­ter­tain­ing at home

ZOOMER Magazine - - CONTENTS -


“WHEN IT COMES to any stress­ful times in our lives, it is im­por­tant to take care of your phys­i­cal health. Fo­cus on eat­ing right, daily ex­er­cise and get­ting enough sleep,” says Louisa Jewell, au­thor of Wire Your Brain for Con­fi­dence: The Science of Con­quer­ing Self-Doubt and the founder of the Cana­dian Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­ogy As­so­ci­a­tion. “Many peo­ple do not re­al­ize the im­por­tance of nur­tur­ing phys­i­cal health to stay psy­cho­log­i­cally happy dur­ing stress­ful times.” Here, her tips for han­dling hol­i­day stress.

Fam­ily ten­sion Nav­i­gat­ing fam­ily is­sues at hol­i­day time can be tricky. Of­ten peo­ple tell me that fam­ily mem­bers are the most toxic peo­ple in their lives. Rec­og­nize that some peo­ple will al­ways show up this way in your life and will never change. Rather than get up­set about it, just ex­pect it and don’t take it so per­son­ally. Find one thing you can ap­pre­ci­ate about that per­son and stay fo­cused on that. While you are not go­ing to re­solve an­cient is­sues over turkey, un­der­stand that all fam­ily con­flicts have two sides. While sit­ting in ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the other per­son, ask your­self, “What is my part in this con­flict?” Can you gen­uinely stand in the other’s per­son’s shoes and see it from their per­spec­tive? Show­ing com­pas­sion and hav­ing for­give­ness are two very well-re­searched ways of boost­ing hap­pi­ness and also pow­er­ful tools for re­mov­ing fam­ily ten­sion for good.

Fi­nances A big ex­pense at Christ­mas­time is gift-giv­ing, but buy­ing gifts just for the sake of buy­ing some­thing is not mean­ing­ful or sat­is­fy­ing. Let me share a great idea that we im­ple­mented in our fam­ily that had last­ing ef­fects for years af­ter one Christ­mas. In­stead of buy­ing gifts for each other, we de­cided that we would write a let­ter of grat­i­tude to each per­son in our fam­ily. We sim­ply wrote a para­graph about what we ap­pre­ci­ated most about each fam­ily mem­ber. On Christ­mas morn­ing in­stead of open­ing gifts, we read our let­ters of grat­i­tude to each other. Not a dry eye in the house! To this day I can­not ex­press to you the im­pact that one ex­pe­ri­ence had on our fam­ily. We cher­ish those let­ters and of­ten go back to read them. Stud­ies have shown that in­vest­ing in ex­pe­ri­ences rather than things can make us much hap­pier over time, and there is no bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence than group ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

Prac­tise grat­i­tude Stud­ies have shown that prac­tis­ing grat­i­tude can im­prove sleep, boost well-be­ing and hap­pi­ness, en­hance re­la­tion­ships and re­duce de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety. Some re­search has also shown pos­i­tive ef­fects on car­dio­vas­cu­lar health. This could be a sim­ple prac­tice of writ­ing down what you are grate­ful for once a week or writ­ing down three things you are thank­ful for each day. When we nav­i­gate our day with the lens of what we are grate­ful for rather than what we are miss­ing in our lives, we train our brains to stay fo­cused on the pos­i­tive as­pects of our daily ex­pe­ri­ence.

Hav­ing to host a huge din­ner Here is where I say, hire it out! I used to slave over cook­ing a huge din­ner but soon found that my lo­cal gro­cery store has an amaz­ing Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas feast that I can or­der in ad­vance. An­other won­der­ful thing that re­duces stress and ex­pense is to have a potluck din­ner. That way, every­one is re­spon­si­ble for just one dish, and no one has to stress too much. Be­cause every­one brings their favourite dish, potlucks are usu­ally de­li­cious!

Alone for the hol­i­days Peo­ple al­ways as­sume that peo­ple just want to be with fam­ily dur­ing the hol­i­days, but that is rarely the case. Find other friends who are alone for the hol­i­days and de­cide you will get to­gether and make your own tra­di­tion that day. I have a friend who or­ga­nizes an “or­phans’ din­ner” for all of her friends who have no fam­ily in the city. It is usu­ally the best cel­e­bra­tion of the year for me!

Push­ing through de­pres­sion When we are too fo­cused on our own suf­fer­ing, we can be­come even more de­pressed and feel worse about our sit­u­a­tion. Stud­ies show that one of the best ways to bring joy into our lives is to show kind­ness for some­one else. Get in­volved with a char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion that is mean­ing­ful for you. Do you love to gar­den? Grow veg­eta­bles for in­ner-city kids. Do you love to knit? Knit booties for moth­ers and ba­bies in home­less shel­ters. Get­ting in­volved in your com­mu­nity does two things: gets you so­cial­iz­ing with oth­ers and makes you feel good about giv­ing back to those in need. Ev­ery year, I play Mrs. Santa Claus for the Red Door Home­less Shel­ter Christ­mas party. It is a won­der­ful feel­ing to give back but it also re­minds me of how grate­ful I am for ev­ery­thing I have in my life.

Gift It Mont­blanc Star­walker Resin, Gold-Plated Fine­liner, $670, ama­

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