November 12, 2018
(Note: We’re actually a day ahead of our usual Tuesday posting for a change. Can’t guarantee it will happen again anytime soon. Haha)
Wow! It’s hard to believe that next Thursday is Thanksgiving already! How is it that the holiday season seems to take us by surprise every year? I think there are a couple of dynamics involved starting with the fact that Christmas gets promoted earlier and earlier to the point that we try to ignore it out of contempt until it’s suddenly upon us and we go into panic mode. At the same time, our lives are so busy we can’t seem to find the time to prepare too far in advance for anything beyond getting through tomorrow.
Whatever the case, it doesn’t really matter how we got here, since we are here. The key is how to cope with the holidays and make the most of them. And the first step is to rethink your expectations.
#1) The Holidays Are Perfectly Enjoyable
When You Don’t Strive For Perfection
Say what? Think about it. We spend so much time trying to create perfect holiday moments that we’re too stressed out to enjoy ourselves. In fact, we can end up making the holiday memorable for all the wrong reasons. So, change your mantra to “let’s have fun without obsessing about it” this year. And part of that is recognizing that there are limits on your time, your budget and your mental/emotional stamina. The first two are fairly obvious, but also remember that we all have limits to how much we can plan, prep and socialize before we start to overload. And we all have different limits. The key is to plan fewer things and enjoy each one more or plan more things while making them all simpler.
Watching your budget is pretty important, because it is ridiculously easy to
overspend on social events during the holidays. And that can lead to a holiday financial hangover as well as relationship issues. Allow yourself one social event “splurge” without going overboard. This will make staying within budget feel less constraining. Plus, follow my tips for having more affordable holiday fun.
The same idea applies to not overscheduling your time. Allow for one or two major parties/events, while spreading out other events over the whole season and making them smaller and simpler.
#2) Celebrate Holiday Happy Hours
As An Alternative To Parties/Dinners
Meeting friends or co-workers at Happy Hour during the holidays is a good way to socialize and celebrate the season without spending a lot of time or money. If you stick with the Happy Hour food and drink specials, you can get by for an average of $15 – $30 per person (before tip) for 2 drinks and 1 – 2 food items from the Happy Hour Menu.
Compared to dinner out with friends, Happy Hour allows you to explore different venues and try more interesting cocktails and foods for l
ess money without having to worry about making reservations (which can be difficult to get in the first place) around schedule conflicts and having to cancel/re-schedule reservations due to last-minute emergencies. Plus, you have time to shop afterwards or go home and just relax.
Compared to hosting parties, there’s no cleanup (before or after) when you meet friends at a
Happy Hour. You also don’t have to plan a menu and drink options, worry about spending for a lot of food that will go to waste, or deal with intoxicated guests or guests who won’t leave. You can show up for Happy Hour, share some holiday cheer and leave when you’re ready. (Also, most Happy Hours only last 2 to 3 hours, so that’s always a great excuse to leave.)
For those of you in the greater Hartford area of Connecticut, the following Happy Hour venues have earned my highest rating of ***UNIQUELY RECOMMENDED***!.
Click on the name to read my review, which also includes a link to the location’s web site:
Another nice thing about the Holiday Happy Hours is you can get started right now with your get-togethers!
Hope you’ve found Part 1 of our Holiday Social & Survival Guide to be helpful in making it easier to enjoy the season this year. Coming up in Part 2 on Friday, I’ll offer recommendations for stocking your holiday bar as well as some general drink recommendations to make entertaining easier. And in Part 3 next week, we’ll present some gift ideas for those in your life who appreciate spirits with a twist!
Be Safe, Happy and Relaxed This Holiday Season!