Expectations and stress seem to increase in the weeks leading up to Christmas day…we need to make the perfect meals, wear the perfect clothes, and of course, buy the perfect gifts! While it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that holiday happiness lies in the art of celebrating it perfectly, I’m finally realizing that true happiness during the holidays comes from some surprising places that are wonderfully imperfect! I truly believe that holiday happiness is as simple as reassessing our priorities so that we are not only happier this holiday season, but are better at spreading the joy too!
Creating Holiday Happiness!
Some people may grumble and gripe about the holidays–too much family, too much food, too many obligations…but what if we concentrated more on creating special memories and making deeper connections with those we love and associate with, perhaps then, the holiday season would become more synonymous with true happiness for each of us!
♦ This time of year always reminds me of the year my father was diagnosed with leukemia in the early weeks of December nearly twenty years ago. It gets me thinking about how impermanent life can be. Holiday happiness can be as simple as realizing that we may not know for sure who will be around the table next year.
So let’s be sure to:
· Invite family over and savor their company.
· Find one thing to appreciate about every person we are with.
· Share a funny or poignant memory of a time you spent together.
· Allow them to do the same for you.
♦ Rather than be harried and impatient as we check off our holiday “To Do” list, let’s focus more on the goodness of others this time of year! I loved that my mother always seemed to see something greater in me that I saw in myself. If someone is seen as special and gifted in some capacity, they often rise to the occasion. Why not treat people as we would want to be treated ourselves…we might be amazed by the responses. This is a gift we can give others that will keep on giving all year long–perhaps even a lifetime!
♦ Building upon past successes is a sure way to bring about holiday happiness. Understanding our strengths and how to leverage them is key to achieving more in less time with less work–and for me, that is the epitome of holiday happiness! Santa doesn’t reinvent the wheel each year, he knows the things he does well and sticks with them! Enjoy your holiday traditions, but have reasonable expectations of yourself and others…that’s not to say you can’t change things up a bit on occasion!
(My grandmother used to hang this same Norman Rockwell picture in the entryway of her home during the holidays. As a child, I loved seeing how happy Santa seemed to be as he made something special for each boy and girl. By sharing holiday happiness with others, we can truly capture the magical feeling of this season!)
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony!” Mahatma Gandhi
♦ Keeping the right focus on this wonderful time of year helps us devote more of our time and energy to our faith, family and friends…after all, isn’t that what Christmas is really all about? Do the things that you and your family love to do together during the holidays. This season really can be a time of true happiness and fulfillment as we focus on the things that make it such a special one to celebrate!
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and singing glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men.” Luke 2:13-14
May an abundance of happiness be yours during this special season!
I’d love to know what Christmas traditions make you happiest.
–With love, Mary