“Listen up! We’re going to decorate the Christmas tree as a family tonight whether you like it or not. So change your attitude or I’m gonna wipe that grimacing frown off your face with this beautiful sheet of Angel Hair!”
Admit it, these words (or very similar) have flown our of your mouth from the deep innards of your holiday soul before. It happens to the best of us. Somehow, forced holiday cheer (which is a pretty weird oxymoron) has become the December-norm in America.
It’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in these moments of tradition. Come to think of it…haven’t we all made this aggression and chaos part of our tradition? Like it or not, we have come to fully expect arguing about whose turn it is to place the angel on the tree, what Christmas movie favorite the family will watch, or who draws whose name to buy Christmas gifts this year.
The fact is….Holiday time is stressful. We’re preparing to host or visit family (some we may not care to see), budget for purchasing gifts, planning a time to shop for a gift they won’t return, etc. All the while, conducting our daily life routine has to continue. It’s no wonder that on January 1st many of us resolve to enjoy a better, happier coming year.
Yet…..there is hope!
Let me offer 3 holiday tips. They won’t necessarily lead you to wearing smaller clothes in January, but they just might help you survive (and even have Joy) this December. Here you go!
Lower your standards – That’s right! Chances are, people around you are not expecting the same level of excellence out of you that you are of yourself. Implement a more care-free approach to all your shopping, cleaning, cooking, and planning…and that long lost smile might fall back into place.
Take hold of your relationships – If you are like most typical Americans, you most likely have at least one person in your family (usually more than one) you dread to see at family get-togethers. This doesn’t mean that either of you are horrible people to be around. Because of our differences, some people are easier to do life with than others. For this tip, read Boundaries. Next, apply it. Period!
Expect the worst to happen – Look, simply come to the realization that tree ornaments are going to get broken, Aunt Betsy is going to publicly critique your cooking, the dog will pass gas under the diner table (during Grace), and your work is going to go unappreciated. Expect all of this to happen. Then, when some of it doesn’t….you will smile! Life will be good once again.
Questions…comments…or simply want to share your tradition of stressful holiday bliss? Please comment below.
But seriously….have a Merry Christmas. “Christ is born!”