NST DECEMBER Don't Be a Martyr for Christmas

Yule
Yule celebrates the birth of the sun, warmth and the renewal of life. This is a time for the rebirth of ideas, hope and the spirit. A time to leave old regrets behind. 
Yule is on the 22nd of December, the shortest day and the longest night. However it is a hopeful time, celebrating that from then on the days will become longer. This is the spirit of this challenge, facing firmly forward, with our positive heads on.
Some of us are Christians. Some of us are of other faiths or none but from our earliest days humans have gathered together at the darkest, coldest time of the year and celebrated with light and warmth and nature's bounty.
Each month the turtles gang (Ninja Saving Turtles) gets together to swim against the tide of consumerism, paying off debt, saving for the things we want, paying off the mortgage early and only buying things we need, love or really want in our life (if we can't make it, borrow it, freegle it or re-purpose something we already have). We want to be happy, healthy and have lots of fun whilst doing it. We celebrate our successes, commiserate and offer advice and lots of (socially distanced) hugs when a fellow turtle is struggling (No turtle gets left behind) and help them get things into perspective and remind them how far they have come on their journey.

This month's challenge is based on one of my frequent sayings
Don't Be A Martyr For Christmas
Some of these are turtle rules (R) although I've added a couple of cheat if you need to bits. Everything else is ideas that help towards a happier life or reducing stress (optional - read them through and adopt any you find useful/ applicable) . We don't want any broken turtles, anyone reduced to tears (unless you want to have a little quiet cry in the corner - it can be very therapeutic) or having the screaming habdabs. That is not what Christmas/ your own celebration/ your life should be about EVER. I've also included an extra post giving some of the background and source materials for this challenge.
1)   D   DEBT OR SAVINGS (R) should be paid first, live on what is left.  I appreciate that if your family has been on a reduced income for some months, debt repayments and saving may have had to be reduced or put on hold.
2)   O   OVERVIEW (R) of the month ahead, any birthdays or social commitments. I would also like you to look ahead to 2021. If you can't do it now then usually the days between Christmas and New Year are quiet and you might be able to do it then. 
3)   N   NSDs (R) No spending days (or spend free days) are days when you do not go out to buy things or order them online. Purchasing medicinal items, petrol or bus pass and ys items only will not lose you a NSD (you should have a budget for petrol for the month and keep within it but we don't want anyone stranded because they didn't want to lose their NSD). Regular small payments (milkman/ window cleaner/ children's clubs) can be set aside at the beginning of the month on a spend day (no penalty every time the money is handed over). Greent gets a milk exemption.
4)   T   TIME (R) The challenge is for the whole of December  from just after midnight on the 30th November until midnight on December 31st (although some hardy souls will be carrying on until the wee small hours).
5)   B   BUDGETS (R) for the month should be set before the start of the month. Regular categories are Food, Transport, Social. Some people have personal spending money. 
 Whatever your categories, set amounts for them and do your best to stay within them.
6)   E   EXERCISE and EATING (R). Eating well and moving your body is good for you, good for your long-term health and good for your mental health. 
7)   A   ACCEPTANCE It's been a difficult year for most of us and the challenges just keep on. Many of us have restrictions. We can't do much about the situation so we have to change our attitude. You can spend the month brooding because you can't see particular friends or family members or sulk because you can't go to the pantomime, but it's better to accept the situation and make other plans. Find other ways of connecting with those you love.
8)   M   MAGIC Think about what makes Christmas special for you (for me it's fairy lights, candles, cinnamon, vanilla and the smell of Christmas spices, a comfy chair, a pile of new books, music, putting up the tree, a few flowers, going out for a brisk walk and then coming back into the warmth). Work out how to make the magic of Christmas for your children. Make some new traditions (do a Christmas light scavenger hunt, make handmade gifts or cards together, bake cakes or biscuits) for your family. 
9)   A   AVOID Chain coffee shops, fast food outlets, takeaways, vending machines etc (R).  I'm going to allow some freedom on this one, for this month. As someone who has had her oven die on New Year's Eve (just as I'd lined up 5 trays of food and was working out the timings) ordering a large Indian takeaway and adding extra veg + home made salads, pickles, dips, crisp and biscuits got us through a few days. 
10)  R   Be REALISTIC. Don't try to do everything. Accept all offers of help. Make the preparations a joint family effort. Have a plan B. Work out what is possible. Write it all down and then cut it down. Prioritise. Have a cut off point to stop (cleaning/ putting things away/ hiding stuff that's left over).
11)  T   Give THANKS. This isn't a turtle rule but it's a custom and is often included in challenges. Find three things at the end of each day to be grateful for. You can find something beautiful, even on the greyest most miserable day. If you have had a really horrible day, look for the bright moments in that day. This helps you focus on the positive aspects of your life and aids mental health.
12)  Y   YOU Need to Look After YOU.  Write a list of things that help your MH and make you feel good and include a few every day.  Set a regular once a week pampering day.
13)  R   REMOVE things that sap your happiness or your energy.  Remove clutter and things, people or activities that no longer fit in your life. Work on the person you want to be, not who you used to be.
14)  F   FORGIVE quickly.  If you are still stewing over an incident that happened years ago, the chances are that the only person being injured is you. The other person/ people have moved on and never think about it at all. Forgiveness is not forgetting (especially in cases of abuse), it's just getting the poison out of your head.
15)  O OUT WITH PERFECTION.  Your Christmas isn't going to look like the tv adverts. Your family isn't going to turn into the Waltons overnight (and you would probably hate it if they did). Things will go wrong. Laugh about them. From our new record player setting on fire on Christmas Day (when I was 8) to the defrosting turkey not being sufficiently cat proof (roughly when I was 40) these are stories that you will cherish in the years to come. They're memorable. They will become your family stories. 
16)  R  REMEMBER OTHERS. (See post #3) This year more people will be living in poverty, not have enough food, be homeless or alone. Charities are struggling to cope. Do what you can, give money if you can, time if you have it. If you have nothing else to give, give a smile or greeting to people you pass in the street. Random Rule - get those RAKs (random acts of kindness) going.
17)  C   COOK FROM SCRATCH (R).  The food budget is one of the areas we have most control over. Big savings can be made from bulk cooking, making rather than buying, using what is in your cupboards as the base for your meal planning but if you don't want to make your stuffing from scratch and your family love the packet stuff, that's fine. 
18)  H   HOPE. Have something to look forward to. Plan for the future you want but be flexible as things may change.
19)  R   REMOVE yourself from the situation.  If things are getting too much for you (over the holidays, because of lockdown or just the way things are) take yourself to a quiet room and lie down/ cry/ have a time out.
20)  I   IN TOUCH. Listen to your body.  Spots and ulcers are signs of stress in your body. If you have MH problems you should be aware of your personal red flags and what you need to do.
21)  S  SIMPLIFY everything.  SIMPLIFY your life - work on eliminating or automating mundane tasks.
22)  T   TAKE ACTION towards a goal. It can be a baby step but work out what isn't okay in your life, work out where you want to be and then take one tiny step to take yourself nearer to your goal.
23)  M   MINDFULNESS Live in the present.
24)  A    ADVANCE PLANNING is your friend. If you are posting cards or presents send them as soon as possible as delivery and postal services are already stretched.
25)  S   STAY IN TOUCH (R) Reporting in regularly keeps you accountable. It's especially important when things are going wrong for you. Turtle hugs are awesome.
 So who wants to join in on the next stage of our turtle adventure.
My mission in life is not only to survive,but to thrive and to do so with some Passion, some Compassion, some Humour and some Style.
NST Feb No 1 No Debt No mortgage
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    My mission in life is not only to survive,but to thrive and to do so with some Passion, some Compassion, some Humour and some Style.
    NST Feb No 1 No Debt No mortgage
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