As we head into the holiday season, I find myself wanting to change the script. I love this time of year. I get to spend time with family and celebrate big life moments with them.
When our oldest grandchildren were 5 and 1 respectively, we flipped the script and began adopting a family in need with the help of a Family Service Agency. This is still something we do, and they are now 27 and 23. It helped instill gratefulness and the desire to help others.
Since I work with people who want to eliminate stress and overwhelm, this time of year brings up all the stories about the “hectic holidays”. I’ve already seen information online and in the news about how to manage the crushing to-do lists and obligations.
That’s the script that (in my opinion) needs changing. It’s no wonder we see an increase in stress, family conflicts and even suicides this time of year. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
We don’t have to buy into the holiday drama.
What if we all decided to focus on the joy of the season?
What if we chose to keep spending manageable to avoid financial stress?
How about choosing a few key events and commitments that are meaningful and politely decline the others?
What if we chose to maintain our healthy habits with a few enjoyable indulgences? What if we decided to be intentional about creating a joyful, fun holiday for ourselves and our family?
I encourage you to choose what is right for you.
If traveling to multiple family events in 24 hours makes the kids miserable and the grown-ups cranky then choose another option. If you dread shopping (and spending) to buy gifts that no one needs, opt out.
I’m not suggesting you become anti-social or scrooge-like. Far from it. I’m suggesting you inject more “want to” and less “have to” into your holiday plans.
Create the holiday memories and experiences you want to have.
- Take a trip. I know a family who packed up 8 adults and 12 kids and took a trip to Disney in lieu of gifts. Even the younger kids loved the idea, and no one missed the shopping and wrapping.
- Start a new tradition. If going to multiple family members homes on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas day is exhausting and joyless, then suggest rotating or create the “day-after” party (or even the week after) so you get to see everyone without shuffling from here to there.
- Give an experience. Can you get tickets to a great concert or sporting event that your family enjoys? If your kids are adults, why not have a chef come over and cook a great dinner and let everyone join in. Pick an experience that you’ll all enjoy and remember.
- Help others. Many of us are mindful of our blessings and help others less fortunate. Maybe this is the year that you do more than write a check. This could be the year you get involved delivering meals, or gifts to those in need.
These ideas might not be the perfect fit for you and your family, so talk to them and decide together how you want to feel this year. Choose what works for you and soak up every minute!
My wish for you; a holiday season filled with love and joy and laughter and all the blessings you were created to receive.
If the hustle of the season is part of the fun for you, by all means enjoy! But if you find yourself dreading the next several weeks, you have time to write a new ending to your 2018 story.