BAH – Barely Able to Handle the Holidays

BAH – Are you Barely Able to Handle the Holidays? Perhaps your family has made a choice to limit gift-giving and focus more on the true meaning of Christmas, or maybe you have experienced a loss. If so, a new approach the holidays may be needed.

BAH – the dreaded trio
When you’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, some days are especially difficult, and three of them are: Birthdays, Anniversaries, & Holidays. To turn the BAH of the coming holidays into Ho Ho Hope, try wrapping a package.


Plan for these days, prioritize, and practice self-care.
Acknowledge the loss and find ways to honor your loved one.
Choose new traditions, and connect with others who are grieving.
Keep it simple and as stress-free as possible.
Ask for help and any support that you need.
Give what you can to those in need and give yourself a special treat.
Express your feelings in a journal or create a piece of art.

Fill the gaps:
If this holiday is different than it’s been in the past, if there is an emptiness in your heart and under the tree, there are new ways to approach it.

As the holidays draw near…
Give a gift to someone in need: donate to a food pantry, shelter, or cause of your choice. Make cookies or muffins to give to neighbors.
Attend church, a concert, or an event.
Plan a get-together with a friend.
Share time by volunteering or spend time with someone who might be lonely.

Presence over Presents

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! ‘Maybe Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas … perhaps … means a little bit more!’


Consider filling the gap under the tree with:

  • An advent calendar
  • A basket for cards that arrive to represent the gift of friends and family
  • A flameless candle to represent the gift of love
  • A beautiful scented oil diffuser to represent the sights and scents of the holiday
  • A new calendar to represent the gift of time
  • An ornament made from Christmas carol sheet music to represent the gift of music
  • A favorite book of cartoons or funny movie on dvd to represent the gift of laughter
  • Thank you notes to use in the coming year to represent the gift of gratitude

Fill the gap at gatherings when there are not gifts to open with fun activities. This may be as simple as singing carols or play a card or board game.

Other ideas:

  • Find your elf names and get a peppermint when you remember to use them.
  • Play games: Christmas candy pass or candy cane games. Christmas Taboo or Scattegories (scattegories-think of items that fit particular categories that start with random letters)
  • Christmas Conversation Bingo – take an m&m for each answer.
  • Use the colored m&ms to decorate a printed Christmas tree – The first person to fill their tree wins a small gift.

Find links to these activities at this Pinterest board.

Have a no-cost or low-cost gift exchange.

For a no cost gift exchange, have each person find, print, and put in an envelope to bring:

  • a new or favorite recipe
  • a joke or cartoon
  • a bookmark
  • a poem
  • a quote
  • a coloring page

Roll a die. If it is…
1. Everyone pass left
2. Trade with anyone
3. Everyone pass right
4. Choose 2 others to trade
5. Unwrap yours or choose someone else
6. Roll again to choose one of the things below to share

1. Favorite book you read this year
2. Favorite movie you saw this year
3. a Fav Christmas movie
4. a Fav Christmas song
5. a Fav Christmas candy
6. a Fav Christmas cookie

Ideas for a low cost gift exchange:

  • a Christmas ornament
  • a Christmas candle
  • a Christmas kitchen towel
  • Christmas candy (candy cane, peanut brittle, chocolate covered cherries, kisses, etc)
    something chocolate


Holiday wishes for you:

  • enjoy-mint, amuse-mint & content-mint
  • encourage-mint, amaze-mint & refresh-mint
  • involve-mint, commit-mint & engage-mint

Download the ideas in this post as a printable pdf

I seek to create order from the chaos of complex information. Join me at the Daily PlanIt to gain insights, inspiration, and information to increase skills for a better life. I unlock the power of teaching reading with phonics in the pursuit of literacy at In my spare time I explore books and movies, often choosing titles available on both screen and page.

Posted in positive shift

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