... to yourSELF!!
Holidays are so very very stressful - and many times that stress is totally self-generated!
I hear Christmas carols about family gatherings and joy and peace.
I see the lovely "Norman Rockwell" prints depicting beautiful snows.... loving groups of people.. and family traditions.
I am surrounded by reminders that I should be happy and jolly and full of excitement.
I FEEL pressure... to buy the right gifts
to attend the parties
to send enough cards
to decorate the most beautifully
to schedule in all the appropriate obligatory family gatherings
AND to be HAPPY doing it....
But where is TRUTH?
TRUTH IS that life doesn't always give you the time to carefully prepare.
TRUTH IS that more often than not, I wake up at Thanksgiving and say WHOA! How am I going to fit all these expectations in?
TRUTH is that I spend WAY too much time being dissatisfied.... being unhappy.... wishing for MORE at this time of year...
TRUTH IS that most of the expectations are MINE!
Who really cares if I don't make the no-bake cookies I usually make (TRUTH is that ONE of my children will miss them and the rest of my kids will way "Oh jeez, mom ALWAYS makes those stupid cookies! Why can't she make anything GOOD?")
Who really cares if they hear from me between Dec 1 and Dec 31? (TRUTH is that an annual greeting can happen ANY time! TRUTH is that the cards DO get jumbled together.. and a January greeting or Valentine greeting make a bigger memory without an obligation)
Who cares about the decorations? Or when they go up or down? (TRUTH is that it's YOUR house and what is IN IT should bring you JOY. Period)
And the appropriate gifts? What does that mean? (TRUTH is that if you have a giving spirit - and you give all year long - there is nothing exceptional about being a giving person during a specific calendar time)
So - may I suggest..... that you protect your spirit - your joyful HOLIDAY spirit - but carefully questioning your TO DO list this season? Your "OUGHT's".... your "SHOULD'S".... IS there an unreasonable expectation? CAN you choose carefully the things you most want to do this year? The events, dishes, gatherings, traditions... that fill your heart with happiness?
Can you deal with your "Christmas card" list at a more leisurely pace at another time? And actually enjoy contacting your friends?
Can you schedule one-on-one meetings with special friends during the year instead of "having' to get together during the craziest time of the year? Maybe the 'perfect gift' is a coupon for a February lunch date!
Can you eliminate half of your decorations? Just for this year - if you aren't decorated yet.... why not put up the one or two things that make you happy?
Can you reach outside yourself to quietly, anonymously, do for someone else?
What fills your heart with JOY? Can you create that for yourself this year?
Trust me - creating it for YOURSELF will give it to others around you!