Your Pre-Holiday Prescription

By Erica Root

Erica Root
Erica Root

The holidays are officially upon us.

With Halloween now in the rearview mirror, retail stores are going all-out to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If you are like me, those precious eight weeks in November and December are booking up left and right with obligations. Friendsgivings, work holiday parties, lunches with friends from high school and dinner with college mates you only get to see once a year.

All of these events, meetings, coffees are fun, positive things that leave me anxious and exhausted and ready for it to be January already. How can I possibly fit everything in and still feel sane?

Last year I wrote about my Post Holiday Prescription. It was all about carving out time for yourself after the hullabaloo of the holidays – a way to decompress and focus on being a little selfish. This year, I am focused on surviving the holidays, so with you I share my Pre-Holiday Prescription:

Schedule what is only absolutely necessary. 

This isn’t the time of year to worry about sticking to your normal social calendar. With all these specialty events planned, you need to take a red marker to your calendar and cancel a few regularly scheduled events or catch-ups with friends. You need to weigh your priorities and realize you cannot book yourself with events for six nights in a row. You are going to hate it, and at some point you are just going to resent the friends and/or family you are scheduled to see.


Get a jump start on your shopping list.

That means all lists. Your gift buying list. I create a shared Google spreadsheet with my family so we know what everyone wants and decide who is going to buy it for them. What we lack in the element of surprise, we more than make up for in lack of returns. But I do have another list in mind when I think of getting my holiday jumpstart: my grocery list. For the first time, my partner Mark and I will be hosting Thanksgiving in the house we bought earlier this year. You can read all about those adventures here. While we aren’t responsible for providing all of the food (fortunately everyone is chipping in and bringing a dish or two) we still have to purchase a significant amount of food and beverages. Because apple cider mimosas. Rather than waiting until the Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving to make my shopping list, I am doing it now. Then I am going to go out and buy all the non-perishables so I have them ready to go.

Take a vacation.

So this might be contrary to everything you think of when you think of the holidays. It’s generally a time to stay close to home, but it doesn’t have to be. And besides, you can’t say yes to all invitations if you aren’t going to be around for it anyway. Whether it is a romantic weekend getaway, or a longer jaunt out of the state or even the country, a vacation will signify something you are (hopefully) doing for yourself during the holidays.


Watch your favorite holiday movie on a Sunday afternoon.

Sunday blues are real, but a Sunday gearing up for a long week of events can make your head spin. So block off an afternoon to enjoy the holiday spirit. Spend that time binge watching Harry Potter, or singing aloud to Love Actually’s final number, “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Do something that’s specifically holiday-related, but that is no frills, no planning required.

Take a walk along the American River Trail.

It’s gorgeous. The leaves are falling and it actually feels like autumn with the changing weather. Enjoy it. Get outside. Walk your adorable puppy. You can even do this with your friends who are in town. Two birds, one stone.



I hope I’ve given you at least a few ideas for dealing with the hectic holidays. But I want to hear from you. What’s your pre-holiday prescription?

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