Passionate Instigator, Dynamic Problem Solver
December 13th, 2013 05:00:00 am
Every year, people complain about the commercialism and stress of the
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
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.