Now, I love Christmas. I love everything about it. The decorating. The list making. The shopping. The wrapping, baking, and parties. The anticipation and the planning of who is visiting and when.
But I know that for many people this is not the case. The holidays can be a difficult and stressful time. There are so many emotions swirling around that it's hard to keep up.
For most people the words ‘The Holidays' invoke feelings of family. Feelings of gatherings. And sometimes those thoughts and feelings come with sadness, anxiousness and fear.
Sadness because of past memories or current circumstances.
Anxiousness, fear of failure, and not measuring up is BIG this time of year.
I would like to offer a few suggestions. And, hopefully they will help you, not only get through the holidays, but enjoy them as well.
First – Remind yourself that nothing and no one is perfect. Remind yourself that you are uniquely you. Remind yourself that if others do not like the way YOU do things…that is a reflection on them NOT you. No one can make you any different than you are. And the fact that someone is trying to recreate you into them…try and let it go.
Having a joyful holiday is ALL about rising above the circumstances (people, attitudes, disappointments) and choosing joy. YOUR joy is what is inside of you. Don't let anyone steal it from you.
Second – If you can, try to accommodate the needs of others. Vegans…cook vegan or make something different for them. If your guests only like sugar cookies…then bake them a batch or two. You can even label the tin of cookies ‘Can only be eaten by the Jones'. Special cookies make people feel special. Because YOU went out of your way to include them.
My daughter does not eat certain foods. I make sure that I cook without those foods or ingredients or, make a separate meal for her. Meaning if I am making chili and she can't eat onions, I make a chili for us and one without onions for her.
Third – Memories are great aren't they. Rather than allowing sadness to be the leader this holiday season, spend time in all of the good memories. Get out the old photos of Grandpa with his Christmas bows on his head. Or your daughter laughing at dinner. Talk about your sadness….but don't dwell on it. Bring all the GOOD memories to light and camp out on those.
Fourth – Choose to be thankful. I know that sounds contrite and silly…but it's true. When you spend time in gratitude and thankfulness your mind does not have the time (or the space) to dwell on what you don't like or want to change.
Fifth – Make a heart check. Are some of the things that irritate you during the holidays you…and not them? If your in-laws like to eat at 5PM sharp, and they make their own dinner, and you know that ahead of time…why are you letting it irritate you? Are you trying to make them you (look at the first suggestion above)?
Most of us (including me), when we read ‘the season of giving' think it applies to the gifts that we give, right? What about the giving of our time…or our heart. Or our thankfulness.
Friends come and go. Family members will not be around forever. And, when they are gone, it might be hard to remember why they made you so irritated in the first place.
PLUS. Guests stay for a limited time, right? You can take deep breaths and remind yourself that it's only for a few days.
OR…just exhale and rise to the occasion. Become that GREAT hostess. The one that exudes joyfulness and gratefulness. Greet everyone with open arms and make them feel SO welcome.
YOU are giving yourself to them. And when can give in that manner, in open-arm living, YOU and your guests will have a joy filled holiday!
Here is a great article to read from Psychology Today with a few more suggestions.
Joyful Living is ALL about not letting let the circumstances of YOUR life determine who you really are. You learn to choose YOU instead! Not sure how to do that? Let me help!
To begin, go ahead and read:
PIN FOR LATER: FINDING JOY IN THE HOLIDAYS