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Surviving the Holidaze

December 13th, 2013 05:00:00 am

Surviving the Holidaze

Every year, people complain about the commercialism and stress of the

holiday season.



Recently, I had a flashback to the early 1980s when “__ Days until

Christmas” started appearing in the media. It struck me as funny when I

read slogans like “just 364 shopping days until Christmas” and “Every day is




If I’d realized the ridiculous extravagance and stress that would follow, I

might not have laughed.



Twenty years later, our holiday expectations are very different. The day

after Halloween marks the start of the Christmas shopping season. We’ve

barely taken down the jack o’ lanterns when Christmas carols, Christmas

sales and general shopping propaganda begin.



Every year in my practice, I see more people who are stressed by the holiday

rush and the pressure of others’ expectations. They’re overeating, drinking

too much, and running up huge credit card bills to finance the “perfect”




In most cases, that version of Christmas was invented by ad agencies. No

one can achieve it, but they’ll keep over-spending and over-indulging until

they realize that.



I sometimes wonder if we’d be better off if we cancelled the holidays




Does that sound like “Bah, humbug”? It’s not.



We need to rethink the holidays. We need to face the facts about this time

of year: The suicide rate is up, alcohol related accidents are up, and people

go crazy spending past what they can afford.



Of course, the holidays are not going away, but -- as individuals -- we have

the power to reclaim them. We can make this a wonderful season of real celebration.



Here are a few of my tips for happier holidays:


1.    Remember that the word “holidays” means Holy Days.


2. Decide what you find holy about this time of year and make it your



3. Review your personal and family holiday traditions. See which of them

really have meaning for you. Those are the ones to keep and pass on

to others.


4.Create new traditions that reflect who you are. Share those with

friends and family, too.


5. Learn to say no.


6. Set personal boundaries. Plan a comfortable holiday party schedule, a

spending schedule, and even an indulgence schedule. Stick with them.


7. During the holiday season, share as much time as possible with people

who respect your idea of holy. Learn about their best holiday

traditions as well.


8.Release any and all concerns about what anyone else thinks.

Especially at this time of year, honor the holy days that you celebrate,

and the holiday traditions that you and your family enjoy.



As you go forth into this time of year, remember and be proud of who you

are. Role model that attitude everywhere you go. That will give other

people the impetus and support to do the same, and that is one of the

greatest gifts of all.



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