Does the stress of the season ever bring you down, overwhelm you or leave you with a feeling of dread? Maybe you love the excitement, the preparations, the decorations, the shopping or maybe visions of burnt gingerbread men dance through your head as the countdown to the “holidays” begins?
A number of years ago we decided Christmas just wasn’t turning out the way we wanted it to be. Excessive buying and preparations lead to discontentment and resentment. We decided things needed to change and we have never looked back!
Would you like to have the best Christmas ever? If so, the first step is to figure out exactly what that means to you. Create a vision for your perfect holiday season, think it out and write it down, it may look something like this…
“I will enjoy not only Christmas Day, but the entire Christmas season. I will spend money wisely; I will keep company with those who fill my spirit up. I will enjoy the tastes of the season and prepare what is special and reasonable to me. I will not succumb to pressures that are not congruent with my values. Each day of the season I will take time to appreciate the beauty that this time of year brings and I will give more than I take. I will take care of myself, so that I can be my best for those I love.”
Hey, that sounds pretty good to me, I think I will keep that as my vision!!
Once you know WHAT you want out of the season, work “backwards” to create it.
1) First, stop telling the whole world and yourself how busy you are. This statement does not bring a peaceful feeling to you, does it? More than likely it brings anxiety, stress, and feelings of not doing enough, having enough, or being enough. Start telling yourself you have more than enough time to do whatever NEEDS to be done. Ahhh, that feels better, doesn’t it? Know and believe that everything that needs to be done will be done and if it didn’t get done, it didn’t need to!
2) Less is more. Simplify, look at your to do list-what can you “do” without? Do the things you love and consider letting go of some of the things you feel like you “should’ do. Have everyone in the family pick one tradition that is most important to them and make those your priorities. When we did this, I learnt that the traditional “dainties” I had been making for years didn’t mean a thing to anyone else, but the decorating of our individual graham cracker houses was something no one wanted to give up!
3) Delegate, Delegate, Delegate! Did you know you actually don’t have to do everything yourself? Really, it’s true!! Others can help and though they might not do it just like you, they are truly capable and it will do wonders for their self-esteem and confidence to make their own way.
4) Lighten up! Most of the pressure we feel is put on us from ourselves, isn’t it? Do things with a happy heart or don’t to them at all. If you decide they are worth doing, and you CHOOSE to do them, don’t complain about it.
5) Be honest, tell the truth and live your values. If it’s time to stop exchanging gifts with someone, be honest and say so. Don’t make up excuses; just tell it like it is. We have said to friends, “We are cutting back…We are donating to charity in lieu of gifts…, we would rather spend time with you than exchange gifts.” We hoped they would understand and do you know what, they all did ( and where likely relieved themselves!) and now we cherish memories we create together instead of unwrapping gifts with them.
6) Grumble less, appreciate more. Before you say something negative, force a positive to come out of your mouth. Exchange phrases like, “it’s too bad…” for words like, “I’m thankful that…” Find something wonderful about everyday, even Mondays!
In the end, enjoying the holiday season is a choice that only you can make. You get to be 100% responsible and that is great news!! Set an example for all by creating your ideal holiday, by being the persona of cool, calm and collected…because after all ‘tis the season to be jolly, not crazy!