Thursday, December 4, 2014

Throwback Thursday: How to Simplify Christmas, 12/4/14

How to Simplify Christmas


With thousands of people participating in the social media trend #ThrowbackThursday (#TBT), over 100 million photos have been posted. It's the practice of sharing old photographs, lyrics, and links to songs along with the memories behind them. It has taken Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like by storm.

Have you joined in the fun yet?
You should join in the fun because nostalgia has benefits. Pondering over fond memories makes you feel better. Take a soothing bath in those times when you felt happy, protected, and loved. According to Hepper, Ritchie, Sedkikdes, and Wildschut (2012), the strength you gain from these positive memories can  have the following effect:
  • improve your self-concept
  • boost your mood
  • feel accepted
  • help you make connections between the then and the now
You can conjure up fond memories by looking at old photos, listening to old songs, smelling an aroma, touching an object, and/or tasting a food item or drink. 

Participating in #TBT is easy:
Participating in #TBT is easier than you think. 
  • Select a picture that was taken at least five years ago (one associated with fond memories).
  • Post it on your favorite social media site.
  • Write a brief description of the nostalgic memory.
Note that social media is not the only way to participate in #TBT. Start a #TBT scrapbook. Each Thursday, select an old photo that generates fond memories. Insert the photo into a scrapbook (make it or buy it). Then write about the fond memories centered around the photo. Before you know it, you'll have completed the scrapbook.

My #TBT
Every Christmas my siblings and I made the same promise to each other: “If I wake up first, I will wake up everybody else so we can go downstairs together.” Our pre-bed routine was the same. We watched Mama make Santa Claus a ham sandwich from the Christmas ham she had been baking in the oven all evening. She made the sandwich with white Wonder bread slices and Miracle Whip salad dressing. Then she cut it diagonally.

We followed her into the living room as she carried the sandwich on a saucer in one hand and a bottle of Coca Cola in the other hand. When Mama set the snack on the coffee table, we knew what was next. In a single file--begrudgingly--we drifted upstairs to our beds, only to find that the smoky aroma of the clove dotted ham had been waiting for us. No matter how hard we tried to fight sleep, our heavy eyelids made us vulnerable. And sleep won the battle. 

On this particular Christmas, my sister woke up first. She kept her promise and woke up my siblings and me. As we tiptoed downstairs, we saw Daddy. He took a picture of us as we peeped through the banister. He had just bumped into Santa Claus--he explained--on his way out the door.

Christmas has always been a festive time for my family and me. Because it can be a lot of work decorating, shopping, and entertaining, I recommend the following strategies:

Make a To Do List
A few weeks in advance, write down everything you need to do. Post it on the refrigerator or in a prominent place. Cross off the tasks as you complete them.

Make a Timeline
Determine when you will complete each task. Don’t beat yourself up if you stray. Just make a new deadline and go from there. As you develop your timeline, think about how you can break up larger tasks into a few smaller ones. For example, if you have meals that require sautéed onions, celery, and peppers, cook them a couple of weeks in advance. Store them in the freezer. If you are making lasagna, sauté the meat in advance, and freeze it. The short time in the freezer usually does not alter the taste. As you need the items, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight, or pop them in the microwave.

Clean in Stages
If you are having guests, squeaky clean the room(s) they will be in. If everyone will congregate in the living room or dining room, dust in corners and behind things. But if you know guests will not be using a bedroom, just make it “presentable” if you do not have time to squeaky clean it.

Delegate
If you have children, involve them in this festive occasion. Newsflash: Children don’t always like to be told what to do. So, ease them into it. Tell them several days in advance you may want them to help you a bit. Then a couple of days later, tell them how they might be able to help you. You can even allow the children to select the tasks they would like to do.

Forget about Perfection
If you work and have a family, your time is probably a precious commodity. Cherish the moments you and your family are together, and remember the real reason for the celebration—the birth of Christ. So, if something gets broken, burned, or lost, don’t be upset and anxious. Think about the big picture.

What fond memories do you have of Christmas? This is the story in you. Share it.

Connect with me on Pinterest to view creative ideas about writing:

  • Why should you write?
  • How should you write?
  • The quirks of writing
  • When should you write?
  • What is writing?
  • What is a writer?
  • In what should you write?


Domonique

Reference
Hepper, Ritchie, Sedkikdes, and Wildschut. (2012). Nostalgia. Retrieved fromhttp://www.southampton.ac.uk/nostalgia/what_is_nostalgia/

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