Think back . . . way back . . . to a time when you didn’t pay taxes. To a time when December was clearly your favorite month. – a month filled with gumdrops and lollipops and presents and snow days and ok, fill in your own memory here.

Now, many years later, sadly December rushes in with too many obligations and expectations. Too many items on our to-do list. Can you relate?

What should we do to make this December, the DECEMBER TO REMEMBER? There isn’t an easy answer to this question. Close your eyes and think of your favorite holiday memory? Mine centers around a year when my family was on particularly good behavior, and my favorite memory definitely has nothing to do with what was under the tree that year.

It seems the best way to simplify this holiday is to get back to basics. Simplistic yes, easy to do, NO.  Alas, I present my 5 tips for making this year your best December yet.

STEP 1: Just say NO. Say no to everything and anything you don’t want to do and that includes things that you probably should do but don’t have time to do.  See what happens. The world will move on without you. You may even miss doing that thing you thought you hated which, of course, you can rectify next year by joining in with fervor.

STEP 2: Make time to do something NEW this year! Have you been promising to take your daughter to see the Nutcracker for years now, or maybe your son really wants to go and see that train display in the hotel lobby? Do it. Do something that will actually delight you, or someone you love, for once. Don’t have kids,? I’m sure you can think of something you really want to do this December. How about a hot stone massage while listening to some Christmas tunes?

STEP 3: Eat more of what you love and consume less of what you don’t enjoy. For example, if you really enjoy eggnog, drink it up. If not, skip it and eat more Christmas cookies. If you don’t like Christmas cookies but really enjoy a good Christmas steak, eat a really large one this year and skip the sugar. Focus your indulgence on the things that are your most favorite. This may even mean drinking your dinner.

STEP 4: Read something inspiring in December.  I’d give you suggestions but the things that inspire me, probably won’t inspire you. Keep it clean people. Just take a moment to read and reflect on something that makes this world a better place.

STEP 5: Sleep, sleep , glorious sleep. Don’t skip on sleep during the holiday season. Grumpiness is not appropriate in December so make sure and get 7 to 8 hours a night and your body will thank you for it. This step is very important. Even if you have to take a mid-afternoon nap to accomplish this goal, do it!!!

That’s all I’ve got so let’s get going on step #1. Hey Aunt Margaret, “I would have loved to come to your gift exchange but I have a prior engagement, my bed!”