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This week’s post was written by Billy Polson, founder and co-owner of DIAKADI

In general, DO NOT OVER COMMIT! Limit your weekend holiday events to one or two max. On weekdays, try to avoid any unnecessary evening or late night events in order to stay rested on ‘school nights’ and keep weeknight plans to a minimum. Those 200 cards you send every year, maybe it is time to cut these out. Honestly, I am starting question if the typical Christmas card tradition still still adds to the holiday magic as it once did. If you still love sending out cards to a huge mailing list AND you have the time to do it, then you go! But make them creative, unique and fun to make the work worth while and the experience fun for the recipient. For those of you that the cards have become just another task on the dated traditions list, save the trees, the time and your sanity. You have the power to draw the line and limit your over scheduling, you just have to have the ‘Christmas bells’ to do it. I cannot tell you how incredible it feels to say ‘No’ to over-commitment and ‘Yes’ to breathing room. Give it a try.

Lastly, use your resources, friends, and family to DIVIDE UP TASKS. Having a big group of friends over? Let everyone help with bringing a dish or drink. Share the responsibility, share the fun of the preparation, and bank a little extra free time for yourself.

LOOK OUT FOR #1 (aka You!)

I know, I know. But Billy, the holidays are a time to give to others, to be selfless, to share your love with the world. But my point is that you cannot share yourself with others, when you are a strung out, over-committed, train wreck mess. One of my favorite mentors consistently reminds me, you can only take good care of others when you are taking great care of yourself. I am not saying to be a self-centered dick and screw everyone else, but I do think that a lot of us can become too selfless and lose sight of the balance of taking care of ourselves.

During this holiday season, take time to SCHEDULE FUN THINGS THAT ARE JUST FOR YOU. Stop and ask yourself, what are my favorite holiday traditions? Not your mother’s, but YOUR favorite traditions. Don’t have any yet? Then make up some of your own this year. Have you ever  made your own wreath? Flora Grubb  and Succulence , my two favorite go to garden stores in San Francisco host workshops on weekends during the holidays teaching you how to make those incredible, live succulent wreaths. Check ‘em out. Or how about creating a fun, active tradition like a neighborhood walking tour across San Francisco. Every year, Mike and I take one of the quiet days during the holidays to leave our house in Bernal Heights and walk way down to the Marina. We window shop, check out the holiday lights and stop in our favorite coffee shops, watering holes and dining spots along the way. I give you permission to set aside some special events like this just for you.

“You have the power to draw the line and limit your over scheduling, you just have to have the ‘Christmas bells’ to do it.”

A final warning: DO NOT LET SOCIAL PRESSURES PUT YOUR OWN PERSONAL GOALS AND LIFE ON THE BACK BURNER. If your favorite neighbor is having a martini and fruit cake party, but you are doing your best to avoid alcohol and desserts during the holidays, worrying that it might be a challenging night for you, then kindly pass on the event. I give you permission to do this. Yes, you may have 4 holiday invites in one night and yes, they may all be from ‘best’ friends that would ‘hate you’ if you did not show up. Well, I am here to give you permission to only do what you would really enjoy doing this holiday season. If they are truly your ‘best’ friends, then they will continue to be, even if you don’t show your face at their 200 person, “who’s who” holiday party. Trust me. In advance, let them know that you would like to meet them for drinks or lunch as a makeup. This time spent would be far more enjoyable and intimate for the two of you anyway.

So there you have it.

Plan all that you can, take good care of yourself and BREATHE.

Remember to protect the FUN during this time of year. Life is way too short to take any of it too seriously.

Remember the goal, have yourself a truly Happy Holidays.

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