Ways to handle the holidays

Josh Baumbach and Josh Baumbach

With the holiday season in full swing, you may have many feelings going into it.  Stress, sadness, regret, maybe even anger (you’ll see anger a lot if you work in retail).  But what about joy and excitement?  Has the holiday season lost some of what made it a special time of year?

Regardless of your religious background, the holiday season is supposed to be a happy time.  Take Jesus, Santa Claus, and the dreidel out of it, there are lights, pine trees, and mini snow villages.  These three things are not necessarily religious, and I don’t know about you, but they make me pretty damn happy.

I understand how the holidays can be a stressful time, especially when you’re low on funds.  Not to sound cliché, but money isn’t what the holidays are about.  Sure, getting presents is great.  But my favorite part of the holidays is the little things; the decorated houses you see while you’re driving, the movies and TV specials that only show during the holidays, the scent of cedar and cinnamon (I’m serious).  These small but important things define my memory of the holiday season, not presents or money.

Go down to the “Fab ‘40’s” neighborhood in downtown Sacramento, located between 40th and 50th Street, and check out the classic “Home Alone” style houses.  Try to catch “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” or “A Christmas Story” on TV.  Make time to enjoy these holiday-exclusive activities.

Not to sound corny (also part of the season), but the holidays are also about being together with the people you love.  Whether it’s friends or family or both, it’s important to do holiday activities with them.  Go look at Christmas lights, have a party, wear matching stitched sweaters.  Hell, go to Starbucks and get an Egg Nog Latte (I recommend it).  But don’t be the Scrooge in your family.  Nobody likes that guy.

I often hear people say how the holiday season goes by too fast.  That’s why it’s important to make the most of it.  What I try to do is make time for one holiday-related activity a day.  It could be something as big as a party, or as small as watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”  But it tends to make each day more enjoyable, regardless of work and school.  Try to take advantage of this time of year, because after this all we have is the desolate wasteland that is January.  And nobody likes January.