This time of year can get really busy and out of control. Take a look at my list, and make some Yuletide promises to yourself this year. My wish for you is that you may celebrate any way that you choose, with peace and joy.

1-      I promise to take a nap. Really, just one nap on a day that you are feeling overdone will make a big difference. A real nap, too. In bed, no TV, no smartphone. Allowing your body to rest when it is begging to is a huge act of self-love.

2-      I promise to drink a zillion gallons of water. Okay, so maybe only a half of a zillion, but you get what I mean. Most of us will find ourselves at holiday gatherings with a glass of wine (or six), and some eggnog too. Alcohol is very dehydrating, so you have to be sure you are drinking a lot of water. Find a water bottle that you really like and keep it as close as you keep your cell phone. Your brain will thank you for it. A big plus is that if you go into New Year’s Eve fully hydrated, you may avoid spending New Year’s Day chugging black coffee in dark glasses.

3-      I promise that I will receive graciously. Even when someone gives me an unexpected gift and I do not have one for them. Even when someone gives me a vacuum. Even when someone gives me fruitcake. Seriously, though, I was really referring to the first one. Just say thank you, I love it, you are wonderful, etc. to the unexpected gifter. Do not blurt out a lie like, “I have your gift at home, I forgot to bring it!”. It is so insincere, plus you are cheating someone out of doing something great, so just don’t go there. It is totally fine to receive without gifting back.

4-      I promise to do something nice for one of my neighbors. You can take them something homemade, something store bought, or maybe just once, don’t flip them off when you pass them on the street. Just kidding, don’t flip your neighbors off anytime. They know where you sleep. Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to do something big and fantastic for your whole street, unless you really want to. Just pick one sweetie who makes you happy to know them and pay them a visit with a treat. Good neighbors really help strengthen the fabric of our communities.

5-      I promise that I will watch “A Christmas Story”. Because really, why wouldn’t you? People far and wide should get a great laugh out of this iconic Christmas movie. Every family has a little bit of Ralphie and the gang in them. “Ooooh, fudge! But I didn’t say fudge….”

6-      I promise to do something to honor my loved ones in heaven. I know how much it sucks to miss and grieve for your loved ones this time of year. I want to challenge you to embrace those feelings rather than try to bury or ignore them. Cry when you need to. Talk about how you are feeling to someone who can support you. Bake grandma’s best cookie recipe, drink mom’s wine, eat dad’s favorite candy, and so on. Hang an ornament on the tree in their memory. Do something that helps you remember them in a way that is more sweet than bitter. They do not want you to be miserable without them.

7-      I promise to get outside. When I worked in early childhood we had a saying, “There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.” Now, my 1 lb Chihuahua puppy might argue with that, since he wails and cries when I make him go outside and pee in the snow, regardless of how warm he is dressed. Humans, however, have no excuse. Bundle up and get thyself out of the house for a little while. Take a walk and take in some fresh air. Your body needs it!

8-      I promise to be guilt free. I mean this one! You are doing the best you can and there is no reason to feel guilty about anything. You do not live in a Hallmark card, and your Christmas doesn’t have to look like you do. If you buy rolls instead of make them, wrap gifts in Walmart bags, or miss a holiday gathering, FINE! Good, even. Please, please only do what you can reasonably do, with no guilt attached.

9-      I promise to buy myself a gift. Maybe it is a massage or some spa time, a great book, or some new socks. Whatever. Just make a point of doing something sweet for yourself. You send a powerful message to the Universe when you choose to do good for yourself.

10-  I promise to spend an entire day in my jammies. Please don’t let this also be the day that you go to Walmart. No one wants their picture on the internet for going out in public in their skivvies. Take a whole day to stay home. Watch movies, eat comfort food, snuggle with your animal companions, read, take a hot bath, bake, play games….the stay home possibilities are endless. Just do it for you, you deserve some down time.

Whatever you do, keep your sense of humor, be kinder than necessary, and lighten up! Happy holidays to you and yours, my friends.