Monday, December 5, 2011

What will your Holiday season look like?


It's December already and Christmas is coming....

Your neighbor already has all the outside decorations up.... and people are talking about TREES....

The television and radio is FULL of sales and things to buy and the perfect gift for Aunt Mel... (never mind that you and Aunt Mel haven't really connected in 10 years!)

And then what about the Christmas card that shows up in your mailbox on December 1?   I always have one.... and it makes me chuckle.  It's from a woman I met on my wedding day... uhh..... 20 years ago.  She was (is?) a friend of my husband's ex-wife.  I always dutifully send a card back.... mostly now because it is a ritual that starts my Christmas season :-)  I LOVE life's quirks!

But...... my story aside... are you freaking out yet?

Only... let me check.... 20 days left!

STOP right now.

Take a deep breath.... and let's walk through this...

#1.  Start with a dream.  Take the time to dream about your favorite Christmas activities.  In your perfect world, what makes a fantastic Christmas?  Get specific.  Is it making cookies?  Is it sending cards?  Is it spending more time with family?   Write your ideas down.

#2.  Now..... what do you dislike the most about Christmas?   Define it specifically.  Maybe you have to participate in some obligatory Christmas rituals of other people.   Maybe you hate the pressure of Christmas cards.   Maybe the whole gift & money thing makes you crazy.

These two lists are the tools you will use to take control.

This is your life.  This is your experience.  This is your investment in time, money, and energy.  How do you get the best return on your investment?

Think about it....

How many things can you cross off your list right away?  I mean seriously – if you cross the task off, you have to cross the attendant GUILT off too.  

For instance, if you decide that sending Christmas cards is NOT something you want to do..... and you decide NOT to send them....  you HAVE to teach yourself NOT to feel guilty every time a card comes to your house.  That guilt is part of the NEGATIVE Christmas experience.  That guilt is part of NOT TAKING RESPONSIBILITY for your choices.  If you find it bothers you too much, CHOOSE to make annual greetings part of your LIFE and do it some other time..... maybe at Valentines Day when your card won’t get lost in the shuffle anyway.   Many of the holiday traditions will work at other times of the year – and be a little more fun when they are unanticipated.  

How about that party that Aunt Sue throws every year?  The one you are expected to show up for.... the one that is held at the exact time another event you want to attend is being held.  Think about it..... seriously.   BOTH are legitimate options.   It’s your life and your experience.  Which option will give you a better life?  Maybe the option of staying home in your jammies and watching a movie is better yet!

And then there is gifting..... the act of giving or returning gifts.  I LOVE giving gifts... but I like doing it all year long.  I like to give you a gift on YOUR birthday or a random day.....  I’d rather celebrate JESUS’ birthday another way.  But if it makes you HAPPY to give things away.... do it – but be smart and creative about it.  Do not fall into the trap of matching dollar for dollar.

I’m not saying that you should ignore social obligations, family or otherwise.  I have a big family so I know what that means.  I DO think we get an overflow of emotion at this time of year – that can be either good or bad.... so take charge!

I’m saying that your desires and your commitments are important too.  Seeking your own happiness is not only a fundamental right, I’d like to say that it is one of your life responsibilities.

So... now look at your list and your calendar.... does it look a little more manageable?  Don't forget to schedule in your DOWN time.... you deserve the consideration!

Want peace on earth and good will to all people?  Start in your own heart....  be grateful.... be gracious... be confident in your choices... be firm in your resolve and always act with love (and that includes towards yourself!)

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