For so many of us the holiday season is a series of trials and tribulations that we endure each year. Even if you love the holidays I suggest you read on for some ideas about how to truly enjoy yourself this year. For years I have worked with clients and students to explore why so many of us dread the holiday season each year and why we feel so guilty about that dread.
Initially people talk of the ‘expectation’, which comes in several formats. We expect so much from ourselves! We expect to find the perfect gifts, attend or host the perfect events and expect to enjoy our family and friends. Most insidiously beneath this surface expectation is the underlying expecting ourselves to be full of some mystery holiday spirit and sense of love and peace for all.
As a kid I had a wonderfully naive belief that on Christmas day, a sort of ‘for one day only’ there was no crime or hate or cruelty on the planet. I believe the actual belief initially came from hearing about ‘cease fires’ in the 1st and 2nd World Wars. I then added on my family’s own ‘cease fire’: My parents would do their best not to argue and relatives would be civil at the family gatherings. As my family of origin is highly emotive and flamboyant this sense of civility was a unusual blessing–truly ‘ceasefire’ sums it up nicely! And I believed that the world was a wonderfully safe place on Christmas Day. I remember this belief being totally destroyed one Christmas when I heard of a violent crime being committed by a shop Santa. Yet, still there persists within me a sense of ‘it should be safe’ on Christmas.
Maybe by now you are connecting with one of your ‘holiday beliefs’ and the impact it has had on you through the years?
So my gift to you this holiday season is the gift of peace and allowance. Allow yourself to be at ease with the season. Sometimes all we need is permission to let us off the hook of expectation.
Think about this: how peaceful and loving is your family gathering? It can be an awful lot of pressure to put a group of people into a room or home; people who don’t usually get together but feel because it’s the holidays that they should. What if instead of expecting people to behave in certain ways, we allow them to simply be who they truly be–and that includes ourselves! And if the bottom-line is you don’t really want to be with these people then go be with some people you do want to be with instead. Or spend some time with yourself. Allow you to do what you want to do and to be with people you really do care about!
What about decorating for the holidays? If it brings you joy, do it and have the most fun you can have! However, if it feels tedious and drags you down simply don’t bother to do it. Or find a friend or family member who loves to decorate and invite them to do it for you, and of course to put it all away afterwards.
The same can apply to cooking. If you love to cook, then cook up a storm. If you love to entertain than throw the best parties you can. And if you don’t like to cook there are still lots of other options: let someone who does love cooking to do it, whether that be a family member, friend or a local shop where you can buy pre-prepared yumminess. Don’t like to have people over? Then don’t. Love going to parties but don’t like throwing parties? Accept every invitation you get and take a fabulous hostess gift. The exchange is complete!
Forget the traditions that don’t work for you and start to change and embrace new traditions that fill your life with ease, joy and glory. Don’t worry about what others will think; most likely they will thank you in the long run. So often when we worry about hurting the feelings of others we are just projecting our own fears on them. For example, two years ago my husband and I chose not to go to his mother’s family Christmas. We had our reasons and let the family know. After the initial shock it turned out that his mum used the opportunity to do what she really wanted to do: she went off to a coastal hotel with her husband for a few days. It turned out she felt that if she stopped doing Christmas dinner everyone would be upset with her, but after all the years of being the entertainer she really just wanted a quiet Christmas with her husband and someone else doing all the cooking!!! My sister-in-law headed south for a vacation with her husband a day early. Everyone was happy! Check your traditions and ask yourself ‘is this a tradition or is this just a habit?’
So this year I encourage you to have an absolutely fabulous holiday season. Remember my CDs and SCT’s Distance Learning Courses make wonderful healing gifts. And I also offer Gift Certificates for one-on-one fabulocity coaching!
Choose to make your holiday season the best ever ~ Holiday expectations be gone.