Put a Little "Ho Ho Ho" in Your Holiday Season!
By Lorie Rosenberg
The holiday season is upon us and the days are packed with all of the activities and tasks associated with this time of year...the holiday shopping, the cards, the parties, the overindulging in sweets and holiday drinks. Oh, and add to that the stress of everything you feel obligated to do...in addition to your regular job and daily responsibilities!
We begin the holiday season with Thanksgiving, a day to give thanks for the many blessings we have received during the year...and then the day after we rush around stores trying to take advantage of Black Friday deals to ensure we get that hard-to-find toy or computer game that our child has to have in order to be happy! There seems to be an incredible disconnect.
And I truly feel for those people who run retail businesses. They have to deal with all the crazy holiday shoppers and make sure that their employees are on the top of their game because this time of year can either make or break a retail store.
Plus, for many of other types of businesses, the workload doesn’t go away. If people are planning a vacation or traveling over the holidays, they need to get a month’s worth of work completed in two or three weeks, just so they can even take their vacation.
Many times we forget that the holidays are not about the tinsel, glitter, and gifts. And putting aside for the moment the religious significance of the holidays, it really boils down to celebrating and showing thanks for our relationships with others, particularly with our friends and family.
So how do you overcome the stresses and truly enjoy holidays, so it will be a wonderful experience for both you and your family?
Here are six tips to make this a truly healthy and happy holiday season:
1. Lower Your Expectations
There are so many expectations put on us by our friends and family, not to mention the ones we create all by ourselves.
You’re expected to travel hundreds of miles to be with your family. You’re expected to buy lots of gifts for your kids. You’re expected to participate in neighborhood parties. You’re expected to help your community and to provide gifts for the needy. While all of this is good, it’s overwhelming and exhausting.
That’s why it’s a good idea to lower your expectations. You can’t do it all and still work and run a business or manage an organization. Otherwise, you’ll be completely crazy, which is how I usually feel during the holiday season. You just have to make choices on what you can and cannot do and then just enjoy.
2. Set Limits
It’s a good idea to set limits on what you're spending this year. It may be necessary to stay at home because traveling is too costly and what you need most is to rest and relax.
Decide what you’re going to spend on your children and on your family, and then stick to it. Instead of costly gifts, you may want to get your children involved in making gifts for others, ones that are truly special and that come from the heart.
Or rather than a gift, do something different this year. Help sponsor a family in need that doesn’t have the money to buy gifts. Or give your holiday money to a meaningful charity. Whatever you do, make sure it's something that the whole family can feel good about.
3. Relish the Relationships
The holidays are more than just gifts. They’re about enjoying the company of family and friends. About getting together to socialize and having fun with people you care about. They’re about enjoying the people who make an impact on who you are and what you do.
4. Simply Simplify
This year is the perfect time to start simplifying your holiday season. It’s not necessary to make the complete holiday dinner with all the specialties you’ve been creating for years. It’s time to simplify and choose what’s most important. No need for six different kinds of cookies when two will do. And get everyone to participate in the baking experience.
Maybe this year you decide to send out your holiday cards in January instead of December. Or eliminate them altogether. Who made the tradition to send cards at Christmas anyway...Hallmark?
5. Get Everyone Involved
Just as in business, there’s a time to delegate. And that’s exactly what to do at the holidays. Assign tasks or better yet, have a family meeting and negotiate who does what. Get everyone involved in wrapping the gifts, putting up the decorations, and cooking dinner.
The holidays are a time to spend with family and get everyone involved with the holiday traditions and the work that revolve around making them happen.
6. Visualize the Experience
Right now, before you get sucked into the holiday vortex, take a few minutes in a quiet place with no distractions, close your eyes, and visualize your holiday experience. What does it look like? Who are you spending it with? What do you need to do to get there? How are you feeling as you're experiencing it?
Visualize now what you want your holiday to look like and then make it everything you want it to be!
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