For many people the holidays can not only be a happy and joyous time reuniting with family and friends but also a very stressful time. Personally I love this time of year because I love watching the Hallmark Channel and their stories of what the holidays really mean. Usually they end on a great note with a message to remember family, friends and our communities. I keep a box of tissues close by…not because of the stories but because of those Hallmark commercials that always tug at your heart.
During the holidays, you should feel festive, not frenzied! I think that our very own talk track in our heads can set us up for frenzy, stress and a lack of gratitude for the season. Remember when you were a kid? Christmas couldn’t come fast enough. This was the time of year starting with Thanksgiving where we sit at the table and talk about what we are thankful for and vow to be good so that Santa would bring us everything on our Christmas list or the eight days of Hanukah!
Today we have the Elf on the Shelf and the Mensch on the Bench to keep the kids in line. We now have someone who supposedly has eyes on the ground or better yet, hanging in some crazy place in the house, and all we need to do is as a reminder to the kiddies. So to that end, be grateful and appreciate that your children will give you about a month of un-naughty like behavior. Enjoy it!
All those holiday parties are next. Why do we make them so stressful? The actual definition of the word “party” is a social gathering of invited guests, typically involving eating, drinking, and entertainment. We attend parties all year long and live the definition just fine. It’s what we tell ourselves that makes the holiday parties something we hate to love. Instead, treat them and those invitations you choose to say yes to, as a time to thank family and friends for their support and friendship. Some people will be lonely this time of year and won’t receive any invites. Perhaps their loved one is serving in the military, or recently passed, or lost their job making this holiday season difficult. Perhaps a way to feel more joy is to reach out to someone in need. Doing “good” for someone else typically reminds us of how fortunate we are.
Pot-luck dinners always crack me up because if you are someone that wants to make a big impression, you make a recipe for the first time and uh-oh it doesn’t look like the photo in the cookbook. Now you are stressing yourself out. If you have been invited to a pot-luck, make that signature dish that everyone talks about even if you are bringing the same one every year.
Office parties….watch your alcohol intake and use the opportunity to network with people you normally don’t have time to talk with and find out more about them.
And lastly, stay connected to your community. This is a time to attend a social event and thank people you have networked with all year for their support. Meet new people to begin a relationship with for the coming year and by all means….have fun! It’s about being a kid again in many ways. Sing some carols, drink some egg nog, make an underprivileged child happy, and then see the holidays through their eyes. There will be nothing but gratitude and no stress there.
Oh yes and one more thing….turn on the Hallmark Channel for inspiration, or set your DVR and watch it by the fire with your family. They are pretty much family friendly and will leave you feeling grateful for those around you. – Sharon Jenks