UNITED STATES—The holidays are supposed to be a festive time of year, but the holidays can be quite stressful for many of us. Between organizing family gatherings, cooking a big feast, work and trying to find the perfect gift we sometimes get a bit overwhelmed.  So just what can we do to ease the stressors? Take a deep breathe. For starters, we sometimes get too caught up in the holidays.  We worry so much about minute things that should not be of our concern. Focus on what is important and forget about everything else.

Christmas is one of my favorite days of the year, because the sheer joy that it brings to me to give to those that I care about. Year after year though, I’m finding myself more annoyed by trying to find the perfect gift for relatives who truly don’t appreciate the effort that I put in; and it can be stressful. Thankfully, this year I’ve decided to keep it simple, stick to a budget and let it be.

The last part being the most important, as its impossible to please all parties on your list so don’t try to.  Heck, why go out and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a gift, for a person who doesn’t appreciate it. The greedy will learn when you choose not to give them what they expect. Everyone has a Christmas wish list, but that is notably for children not adults. Some people will be surprised at how picky grown people can be when it comes to the holidays.

Telling everyone in the world what they want, but not even considering the thought of purchasing an item for others! I have a new phrase that I like to consider, just one of my many ‘sayings,’ “If you don’t give how do you expect to receive?”  Some people need to hear that, as it sends a clear message that the holidays are about giving not so much in the realm of receiving, which so many of us become consumed with, especially adults.

That’s why I share the story of my nephew who never really asks for much for Christmas, but the shear joy of the look on his face when I deliver his gifts makes my heart tug on the inside, because his reaction is genuine and sincere and that means the world to me. Do because you want to not because you have to people.  Don’t break the bank, don’t sell your house, do with what you have, that’s all that can be done. Remember there are so many people out there with little to nothing this holiday season, just attempting to make ends meet, so donate a dollar to the red kettle you see at the shopping mall.

Hey, if you spot a homeless person spare a dollar or any loose change you have. I know, I know, and I hear this time and time again, “They’re not going to do anything with the money that I give them.” So what, that’s their choice to make. You can’t control someone’s money, I tell that to people all the time, let it be. We’re such a controlling culture, especially around the holidays.  This is the time to be thankful for having a roof over your head, especially in the frigid temps across the county, a meal in your stomach and a family to share your love with. Be grateful for what you do have, because at any given moment it can all be taken away from you.