Gretchen Rubin

Podcast 145: Hacks to Help Make the Holidays Happier.

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Even though this isn't officially a "Very Special Episode" (which we do every tenth episode), Elizabeth and I decided to shake things up and do an episode devoted entirely to holiday hacks:

  • Declare an official start date to the holiday season. Part I: Don't start too soon to beat yourself up for not starting to prepare for the holidays. Part II: Don't start too soon to enjoy seasonal pleasures.
  • Consider having a holiday cookie exchange party.
  • When putting up holiday decorations, take a photo of a a successful arrangement, print it out, and store it with your decorations so you can exactly replicate it in the future, if you choose.
  • To control spending, use cash or credit card, whichever works better for you. There's no one right way, just what works better for you.
  • Skip the free samples.
  • Make a list for others and for yourself. This hack is so obvious, and we've all vowed to do it, but it's hard to remember to do it consistently.
  • Choose a holiday movie to watch as a family.
  • Be willing to let go of a tradition when it no longer works for you.
  • Before arriving in a possibly challenging holiday environment -- such as spending time with difficult relatives -- think, "How do I want to behave?"
  • Remember that questions and comments that seem innocuous to you may be upsetting to someone else.
  • Fill your heart with love. Here are my Twelve Personal Commandments. And here are my Eight Splendid Truths. (I do love a numbered list.)

Send us your holiday hacks! We'd love to have a giant collection. And we need them ourselves.

Gretchen's Demerit: I'm very far behind on my note-taking. I love taking notes, but it's intellectually taxing and takes a lot of time, and I've created a backlog of note-taking.

Elizabeth's Gold Star: Elizabeth gives herself a gold star for starting her Christmas shopping early.

As promised, here's the clip from my favorite holiday movie, the 1947 classic Miracle on 34th Street. You can watch it here. If you've ever wondered what Kris Kringle and the girl were saying, here's the translation:

Kris: Hallo! Ik ben blij dat je gekomen bent! (Hello! I am happy you came!)

Child: O, u bent Sinterklaas! (Ooh, you ARE Sinterklaas!)

Kris: Jazeker! (Yes, of course.)

Child: Ik wist dat u het zou begrijpen! (I knew you would understand.)

Kris: Natuurlijk! Zeg maar wat je zou willen hebben. (Naturally! Tell me what you would like to get.)

Child: Niets. Ik heb van alles. Ik wil alléén maar bij deze lieve dame zijn. (Nothing. I have everything. I just want to be with this nice lady.)

Kris: Wil je een liedje voor me zingen? (Would you like to sing me a song?)

Kris and Child sing together:

Sinterklaas kapoentje, (Saint Nicolas, little capon,)

Geef wat in mijn schoentje, (Put something in my little shoe,)

Geef wat in mijn laarsje, (Put something in my little boot,)

Dank u, Sinterklaasje! (Thank you, little Saint Nicolas!)

Gosh, I tear up every time.


Resources:

Blatant self-promotion! If you're trying to think of good holiday gifts, consider my many books, calendar, coloring book, Day-by-Day Habits Journal, One-Sentence Journal...

Remember, I do a weekly live show on Facebook called: “Ask Gretchen Rubin Live.”  To join the conversation, check the schedule.

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