‘Twas the first of December and all through the land // Nothing, not one thing, was going as planned…

Some live for the holiday season, others would rather live without it.

But whether you are a serial scrooge or a festivity fanatic, it cannot be denied that December is one of the most stressful months of the year.

Christmas shopping and annual parties are burning our already limited time and money; the days are at their shortest, plunging us in darkest at 4 pm – that rules out evening walks and jogs, which is unfortunate since we are eating our weight in mince pies and mulled wine. At the office, there is more work than ever with a week less to do it in. Then there’s the pressure of seeing all the relatives we dislike and the sadness at trying to celebrate without the people we love, plus those unmet expectations when the dream of a white Christmas is only partially realised when the can of whipped cream exploded all over Grandma.

To summarise, not the holiday most of us need.

“You’ll never see the wood for the trees if you keep trying to find the one which doesn’t drop needles or smell like pine or have any qualities of a fir tree in any way, shape or form.” — Mary Whittle

In other words, you need to take a step back and consider what December actually means to you.

You can start by writing a list of your December To Do’s in one column along with any other traps you fall into at year end. Now ask yourself each of these questions:

Does this activity match up with what December means to me? Which could I really do without this year? Is it important to somebody I love that I do it?

Now add another column, your December To Don’ts, and transfer as many of those activities that burn too much of your fuel across, with a note on why they are to be avoided. Keep your list somewhere handy like your bedside table, so when things start to get heated, you have the ice pack at hand.

A short thought for a short Sunday to help you turn December downside up.

Love,

Mary x

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