December 6, 2011

How to Treat Yourself During the Holidays

I'm not quite there in terms of holiday-spirit, but I'm close. This year I think it's less about traditional decoration and stuff, and more about the feeling of it all. One of my favorite "feelings" of the time of year is the satisfaction of and little smile from giving yourself little treats. A lot of the holiday is spent thinking of others - How do you say Happy Holidays? How can you express to them how wonderful they are? If applicable, what to give them? How much money or time can you spend on them? How do you fit all your friends and family in to a short week or two?

Don't get me wrong - thinking of others is all well and good! And a treat in itself. But it can get stressful, busy and expensive (again, in both money and time). Every now and then you need a little boost to remind you it's the end of another year, and you made it in one piece! Congratulations! And thank you, self.

Here is an advent-style December count-down on how to give yourself little treats everyday of the season:

December 1: Purchase a smelly candle (smelly in a good way -- this year I forwent the expensive Yankee Candle for the $3 Apple Cinnamon from Glade).

December 2: Listen to the Vince Guaraldi Trio "A Charlie Brown Christmas" album. One time or eight times.

December 3: Wake up early to see the sunrise.

December 4: While out shopping (holiday or otherwise...hardware store? Pet Food Warehouse?), buy yourself a nice piece of chocolate.

December 5: Do gentle relaxing yoga in the dark, save for the aforementioned Apple Cinnamon candle flickering in the background.

December 6: Call in sick, and take care of whatever personal business you need to - shopping? Laundry? Holiday cards? Foraging for winter boughs?

December 7: Wear your comfy house shoes to work. Bonus points if you wear work pants that are actually as comfortable as your pajamas.

December 8: Splurge on a Peppermint Mocha Latte from Starbucks.

December 9: Splurge at home by adding two drops of Peppermint Extract to a steaming cup of homemade hot cocoa.

December 10: Take 5 minutes to email or write a letter to someone you haven't written to in a while just to say Hi.

December 11: Go outside and sweat - ski, walk, stack firewood...

December 12: Re-read a few holiday cards you received in years past.

December 13: Tell someone about your favorite holiday tradition.

December 14: Buy and make a lobster to eat at home in the middle of the week.

December 15: Sing a Christmas Carol out loud while by yourself in your car.

December 16: Find a youth chorus or orchestra and go to their holiday concert.

December 17: Google image search one of the following: Christmas kitten, or New England Christmas (especially if it hasn't snowed yet)

December 18: Take a bath.

December 19: Don't bring your lunch to work today; buy a fancy sandwich or a really great salad.

December 20: (Now we're getting close!) Wear a shirt with sparkle or shimmer or sequins.

December 21: Put your towel in the dryer while you're showering, and then wrap yourself in it's warmth after you're all clean.

December 22: Take a nap on the couch.

December 23: Talk to a child. About Santa, about snow or about sugar.

December 24: Take a walk with someone late at night, and hold their hand.

December 25: (this is my favorite!) Wake up early, don't turn on any lights, except the Christmas Tree or equivalent, and sneak around downstairs quietly, just looking at the glow of the lights. Maybe they're shining over a mound of gifts soon to be torn open by ravenous nieces, or maybe they complement the rising sun over morning fog. Better yet (and this is my hope for you all), maybe you can look past them and see snow flakes falling outside, covering everything with that billowy white quilt.

December 26: Do a puzzle.

December 27: Drink a Coca-Cola before noon.

December 28: Don't check your email today.

December 29: Think about your New Year's Resolutions.

December 30: Watch one of those Vh1 marathons recapping the best and worst of the year.

December 31: See December 14 and December 20.

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