Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Attitude Shake-Up

I am already hearing people bemoan the fact Christmas is upon us. My friend, Anita, said she would just like to fast-forward and get it over with! Sound familiar? I understand those sentiments, but no longer feel so utterly negative about the whole thing. I am now able to focus on the concept of “less is more” and not get caught up in the stress of the season. I have found I am able to enjoy what I do and appreciate those people I spend time with even more so. Over the years, I have shared with others how I approach the holidays, and now I’ll share a few insights and ideas with you.

First ⎯It all boils down to expectations. Who do we have to blame for those outrageous expectations? Could you be thinking of Norman Rockwell’s, Freedom from Want picture (Thanksgiving Dinner), published in the Saturday Evening Post in 1943? Or perhaps you have been looking at all the magazines with the lovely holiday settings. Just stop that right now! If anyone is going to take the blame it should be YOU. You can’t do anything about anyone else’s expectations, but you can about your own.

Second⎯Before you become holi-dazed, sit down and make a list of everything you think you need to do throughout the holiday season by category, then fill in the details under each category. Before you start getting a headache, move on quickly...

Third⎯Cross at least one detail off the list under each category, and yes you can! Heck, go ahead and cross off a whole category if you are feeling really empowered. I know you want to, so I’m going to give you permission to cross off an entire category. There, you have no one to blame but me⎯you’ll thank me for it! Remember, the idea is doing less of everything. Here are a few general thoughts to set you on your way:

Holiday Cards⎯If you are sending cards to everyone you ever knew or had a conversation with, listen up. Try sending cards to only those people you rarely see. If you still want to touch base with others, send an e-card. Or send only e-cards and sometime in the next month or so call those people you rarely see⎯they would love it! Lastly, you are not obligated to send holiday cards just because you receive them!

Gifting⎯My, oh my, has this one gotten out of hand over the years. You still have time to contact people and stop the insanity. Here are a few ideas: pick names and set a spending limit, one gift per family, gift to only children under a particular age, request donations be sent to a favorite charity or simply⎯no gifting.

Baking⎯You know this only packs on calories and gives everyone a sugar high, so just cut back.

Decorating⎯Your home does not need to look like a magazine spread. It takes an entire design staff to fill those pages.

Parties⎯You do not need to attend everything you are invited to.

Basically, focus on what is really important to you and your loved ones and forget the rest. It is just not worth it to you, or anyone coming in contact with you, to do otherwise! Treat the holidays as a state of mind that may need an attitude adjustment. Your loved ones may not understand the new changes, but in the end⎯they will come around, and just possibly embrace them. Don’t focus on the traditions of the past if they are the ones driving you crazy. There are no laws stating traditions must remain the same. Set yourself free and before you know it you will have created new traditions.

As you go through your holiday to-do list this year, make notes on what you might want to change next year. Every year you can work just a little harder at making changes and doing less until you have turned your holiday negativity into holiday magic⎯something you look forward to. The important thing here is to just BE and let the joy of the season set you a new path. It is up to YOU to shake things up a bit.

Feel free to share your ideas by selecting the comments box. In case you are not familiar with commenting on this blog, I receive all comments for review prior to posting. If you want to just comment to me, ask me not to share and it won’t be posted. So, let’s get the party started and help my friend Anita shake things up a bit with an attitude adjustment. How have you simplified your holidays or what do you most like to do? I am going to list a few more ideas to contemplate:
  • Pick one thing you would really love to do and put your heart into it.
  • When you have finished deleting items on your to-do list, think about adding something you’ve always wanted to do but have never had the time.
  • Leave town and the holidays behind.
  • You could always celebrate the holidays when the weather and traffic are better. How about Christmas in July?

© Copyright Michelle Clark 2010
Special thanks to Ben McLeod for the broken ornaments picture