|This evening's sunset|
The holiday season is upon us, and I prefer to stay away from the crowds during this time of the year. Although my former career was in the retail and wholesale fashion industries for numerous years, the last place you’ll find me now, especially during this long weekend after Thanksgiving and the days leading up to Christmas, is out and about at malls and large shopping centers. I even try to avoid busy grocery stores during holiday weekends. The frenetic pace of holiday shoppers creates a stressful, rather than lively atmosphere for me.
To meet my gift giving needs, I keep an eye open year round for unique items that would suit specific family members or friends and store early purchases in a large bin until Christmas. A large percentage of my gift shopping is also accomplished at local small businesses or with artisans who offer their handmade or vintage wares via Etsy or other websites. When I was on bed rest during my pregnancy, my only option for Christmas shopping was to become more familiar and comfortable with the online process. Since I couldn’t make my usual visits to locally owned gift shops that holiday season, I discovered Etsy and other creative sites. In the process, I also discovered how rewarding of an experience it can be to shop with online artists and artisans despite not interacting in person. Not only are you making a purchase, but you are often making a personal connection. Sometimes those initial connections can blossom into friendships! Sadly, many local gift shops have shut their doors as years have passed, so much of my shopping now takes place online.
The calendar is quite full during the holiday season with family gatherings, get togethers with friends and an increased level of activity for my small business, Plumeria Papercraft, layered on top of the regular weekly schedule of working, volunteering and parenting. In an attempt to remain centered during the holidays, whenever I can be a bit of a homebody, I admit I enjoy the more subdued environment. After a couple days with family, today was a low key day of working on my notecard designs here at home, placing a few orders with favorite Etsy shops, walking along the beach at sunset and indulging in another simple, (but oh, so satisfying!) meal of fresh cracked Dungeness crab and salad. Choosing creative time and beach time today over early bird specials and doorbusters definitely helped me stay centered!
How do you stay centered during the busy holiday season?