Don’t forget the Marshmallows!

MarshmallowsThe holidays bring so much pressure every year. People are expected to be at every family function and holiday party they get invited to. On top of that, you are expected to buy a gift for everyone who gives you one. Plus don’t forget to do all of that with a smile and cheery disposition because… it’s the holidays.

How many of us decorate our homes, shop for gifts and food to prepare and then cook for 24 hours straight making the holiday meal for our families? As soon as it is over, we rush to pack everyone up for drive to the in- laws, only to arrive just in time to sit down for another dinner (three hours later). Let’s not forget about the leftovers and holiday treats that everyone pressures you to take home. No wonder we get cranky and tired. I know it is nice to spend time with family, but could we spread it out over a few days? We shouldn’t feel obligated to attend everything we are invited too. You may consider scheduling a quiet dinner during the week with the family instead of trying to do the holiday marathon all in one day. If you ask me, that’s too much family in one day (at least for me anyway).

I think we should be allowed to take a break from the holiday chaos or at least from eating our way through it. I like to take a few hours and curl up on the sofa with a good book or movie and a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows and just unwind. I actually found myself volunteering to take the kids outside to make snowmen and snow angels one year. The laughter and freshly falling snow was very relaxing and calming.

There is plenty of time to spend with family around the fireplace, sharing stories of the past. But not everyone has a past they want to remember. It is OK to choose to spend time with people you enjoy being with. As the saying goes, “We can’t choose our families, but we can choose our friends.”

With everything that is scheduled during the holiday season be sure you make healthy food choices, drink in moderation, get plenty of rest and make time to exercise. You will thank yourself later. Re-evaluate your commitments for the holiday. Just because you have done it in the past doesn’t mean you need to do it again this year. Remember the holidays are not all about material things. It is about being with family, friends and being thankful for those you have around you. Focus on the true meaning of the celebrations you choose to attend. Take time to share memories and to make new ones.

If things aren’t going as planned and the stress and chaos becomes overwhelming, just remember special things happen every day of the year not just during the holiday season. So grab a cup of hot cocoa, add some marshmallows, take a deep breath, and relax. Everything will work out at the end of the day  (Just don’t forget the marshmallows!)

Enjoy the simple things this holiday season.

About Dawn Rehrauer

Dawn is a Bereavement Counselor, and co-founder of Grief Relief, at Agnesian HealthCare. She has been working in this area for five years. She is passionate about helping those that have lost a significant person in their lives through their grieving process. Dawn can be reached by emailing

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