11 Mini Tips to Thrive, not just Survive "The Season!"

by Kimberley Thompson, Tastemaker in Residence

I work retail. 

I have worked retail for 40 years.

For 40 years, I have survived the onslaught of hectic shoppers, brutal extended hours, non-stop Christmas "Muzak," too little sleep, family traditions and expectations, personal social obligations, and ho-ho-ho-ing.

By personal trial and many errors, I have compiled my "Survive the Season" list. It is not foolproof...but it does help me focus on the positive aspects of the season...and truly enjoy the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  1. My car radio is turned to an "all Christmas" station from T-Day to Christmas Day. No exceptions.
  2. Every night on the way home, I drive a different route for a block or two, to enjoy the Christmas lights. Some streets are lit as bright as daylight. Others may sport one brave little house pushing back against the darkness. I find myself looking forward to each night's foray...slowing down to appreciate the gift of lights an unknown person has labored to bring their neighborhood.
  3. Lars Own Swedish Ginger Snaps. Thin. Tasty. Not overly sweet. Just 3 or 4 cookies every night with #4.
  4. A cup of good tea every night before bed. I give myself 15 minutes to sit and read every night; even if it is late. My tea of choice is Earl Grey. The fragrance always lifts my spirits and the warm mug soothes tired hands.
  5. Real organic cream and a pinch of Demera sugar in my tea. Only during the dark nights of the season do I permit these indulgences...and I feel rich doing it.
  6. I peel and eat a fresh orange or Clementine every morning. The bright pop of tangy sweet morsels tastes like sunshine in the shorter hours before solstice. After I eat the sections, I gather the peels in my hands and gently twist them to release the oil into the air and on my skin. I catch the citrusy clean scent in my nostrils...enjoying the freshness in a winter closed house.
  7. I religiously watch both Walt Disney's 1983 "Mickey's Christmas Carol," and the 1951 "A Christmas Carol" with Alastair Sim. One is only 25 minutes and fairly accurate to the written word. The other gives me hope in the power of redemption.
  8. I have small twinkle lights somewhere in my house that I can slow a few minutes down in my day just to watch their brilliant sparkles.
  9. Each night, I take 2 or 3 minutes to stand outside in the dark with no house lights on. I let the darkness and cold envelope me as I scan the night skies for each evening's stars...letting the vastness of the darkness connect me with God's universe.
  10. I treat myself with one "special event" for the season. Whether it be attending the Guthrie's "Christmas Carol," walking through the poinsettia display at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park,  slipping into a musical program by Cantus singing traditional Christmas Carols and contemporary songs or driving up and down Summit Avenue looking at Christmas lights...I MAKE the time.
  11. Give yourself permission to say "no."
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