‘Tis the season to be jolly – or is it? With all the stresses of the season headed towards us like a runaway (toy) train, now’s a good time to take a step back and put together a plan to help navigate the next few weeks so this year you won’t collapse in a stressed-out heap. Here are some thoughts and gentle reminders on how to manage the season, with more joy and less stress:
Fully 90 percent of Americans feel stress and anxiety about the holiday season, according to a 2009 survey by Harris Interactive, and the majority of that stress is related to buying gifts.
“We’ve gotten into a toxic situation with holiday gift giving,” says Wanda Urbanska, a North Carolina–based simplicity and sustainability advocate and the author of The Heart of Simple Living: 7 Paths to a Better Life (Krause, 2010). “The worst-case scenario is dashing into the mall at the last minute and grabbing stuff, throwing it on the credit card, and not thinking about the financial consequences — or even what the person wants or needs. It’s a financial burden, it’s a time burden, and it’s an environmental burden.”
There’s real beauty in choosing a free-range heritage turkey. You’ll get richer flavor, better nutrition — and the satisfaction of supporting a rare breed of poultry farmer, too.
On a thousand acres near Ellensburg, Wash., Greg and Laurie Newhall raise cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens and — as of this year — turkeys. This place, Windy N Ranch, is a free-range pasture paradise. And the turkeys here aren’t your average supermarket-variety birds, but a heritage breed called Black Spanish, one of 11 breeds (including Bourbon Red, Narragansett and White Holland) that the American Livestock Breeds Association is working to protect from extinction.
When November rolls around, many people start to feel that rising sense of panic about the impending holiday season – and by the time Thanksgiving dinner hits the table, holiday hysteria is in full swing. How to nip the stress of the season in the bud? To stop stress from turning you into the Grinch, start by changing your approach. Instead of thinking the holidays are a chaotic blur of obligations, think of the season as a month-long project with a beginning, middle and end and try to manage it like you would a work project: develop a plan, figure out the steps in advance, prepare to make decisions, take charge and move forward.