Here we go! We’ve reached the final stretch – just a few more days until we can take a deep breath and – hopefully – enjoy some down time with those we love. But if you’re like me, there’s still A LOT to do before we can get rewarded with that much-needed break. So, I’m here to remind you of a few things, and give you a couple last-minute shopping tips.

First, even though you’re probably stressed right now and focused on everyone around you, don’t make the mistake of neglecting yourself. This is when you really need to pay attention to your self-care because you don’t want to wear yourself down to the point of being more susceptible to getting sick. Also, what fun will the holidays be if you’re too mentally and physically exhausted to enjoy them?

I recently had to cancel our much-anticipated Mekky Media holiday party because the venue was forced to close due to a COVID outbreak. We were all so disappointed! But sadly, that’s the world we’re living in right now. Here’s some of the advice I gave my team when I had to deliver the bad news:

    • Take good care of yourself – take your vitamins, get plenty of sleep, get a little exercise (even if it’s just a quick walk or a stretch at your desk). These things will help you stay in a good place mentally and will also keep you strong and enhance your ability to fight off illness during these days of togetherness.
    • If you’re feeling overworked or overstressed, reach out and get the help or support you need. Whether it’s a boss, colleague, family member, friend, or therapist, find someone to talk to. Don’t let your stress pile up, and don’t go it alone.
    • Take a deep breath. This works wonders for me. I start every morning with some meditation and breathing exercises, but I also take quick deep breathing breaks throughout the day whenever tension is getting the best of me. Try it this week!

I hope these reminders ease your holiday stress. But we all know it takes more than a good talk and deep breathing to power through our to-do list this time of year. So, I also want to let you in on a couple of my holiday shopping secrets – for both my city and suburban readers. I feel so lucky that two of my favorite retailers are also Mekky Media clients, and they have each saved the day for me this holiday season – even though they’re quite different.

    • Abt Electronics – If you live in the Chicago area, you’re probably quite familiar with this family-run electronics powerhouse in suburban Glenview. The Abt brothers have become like family to me, and I’m so thankful for their long-standing partnership. I also couldn’t be more impressed with the business they run and the service they provide. It’s my go-to place for all our big electronics, but it’s also an amazing gift destination – everything from smaller items like headphones and countertop kitchen appliances to the big stuff like TVs and computers. And for all the last-minute shoppers, Abt is offering free same-day local delivery – you can get your item right away if you order by noon on Christmas Eve. It’s nearly impossible to find that kind of turnaround right now! Check out the details and restrictions here.
    • Primark – I was so grateful when Primark, an international retailer that offers amazing fashion at amazing prices, asked Mekky Media to do PR for its downtown Chicago opening last spring. We continue to work with the Primark team, and I’ve become hooked on this store – especially during the holidays. With 36,000 square feet at 35 N. State St., Primark is packed with great gifts at low prices. You’ll be able to buy so much more for the people on your list. We’re talking the latest trends in women’s, men’s and kids apparel and footwear, plus accessories, home items and beauty. If you still have a lot of people to shop for and you don’t have a lot of time, I recommend you head over to Primark and get it all done at one fun store.

I hope these thoughts and tips take a little pressure off this week. Good luck getting it all done – I know you can do it!

Thank you for reading my blog this year. It means so much to me! I wish health and happiness for you and your families over the holidays. And cheers to all of us – we will rock the new year!