Christmas is a wonderful time of year full of joy, laughing, and singing. Singing? Sometimes all those Christmas Carols can drive you batty! Yes, for some Christmas is lovely, but for others it can be the worst time of the year.
For many years I longed to make the holiday season a joyous occasion but my expectations always fell short. This was confirmed my one of my adult children when they proclaimed, “You weren’t at your best during Christmas.” Gee thanks! Longing doesn’t make it happen. Action makes it happen. And I needed to change and needed an action plan.
I have narrowed it down to 3 things that rob us of joy during this joyous celebrating time.
- Hurriedness – Hurry, hurry, hurry. Never enough time and too much to do! Doesn’t that sound like Christmas to you? We hurry along and lose all of our joy in the process. Why are we in such a hurry? Do we really need to do all of those things on our to do list? When we scurry about we miss all of the lovely moments along the way. When we hurry along we miss out on life. Give yourself a break. You do not need to do all of those things on your list. So what if you don’t make your Aunt Anna’s bread pudding! Who cares if the dog has a Christmas sweater? And I am certain that most people are not as happy to read your look-how-wonderful-my-life-is Christmas letter, as you are to write it. Really does anyone read all of those? Trust me, they end up in the trash even before all of those cards. No one will be upset if they don’t get your letter, except maybe your grandmother! Call her instead and make her day.
- Family Conflict – Oh this one’s my favorite! Who doesn’t have family conflict during the holiday season? Emotions are high and gratefulness is low. Demands are high and finances are low. Everyone wants something from you but no one has time to help you. Be the leveler. Stay out of the family drama. Don’t get in the middle of conflict. At the first sign of drama turn the other way. Practice saying this: “I understand you are upset about my not making the gingerbread house this year. I’m sorry you feel disappointed.” Done. Period. Don’t say another word.
- Unmet Expectations – Lower your standard. Christmas is not like the movies. We want it to be, but it just isn’t. Bing Crosby will not end your evening singing White Christmas. But I guarantee you will have a pile of dishes to do and a house to clean. And that new gadget you want, forget about it. Don’t hope for it. Buy it after Christmas with all the returns you do! And all of those perfect gifts you bought intending to make someone’s Christmas, save the receipt so they can return those too. Don’t get me started on the returns. I hate returns more than shopping, but at least by then there are no Christmas Carols. If you want to expect something, expect to gain 5 pounds. Pick a workout program now in anticipation.
Stop the madness. Go get a pedicure. Grab a cup of coffee. Sit down and watch a Christmas movie where everything is perfect, because that is as close to perfect as you’re going to get. Then when they ask you, “Where are my favorite Rum Bubba’s?” Say, “I understand you are upset about not having Rum Bubba’s this year. I’m sorry you feel disappointed.”
Done. Period. End of story.