“Christmas, my child, is love in action.
Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” ~ Dale Evans
Whatever holidays you celebrate between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, you might find yourself anticipating the upcoming festivities with more dread than joy. Who can blame you? For many, the holidays are way too full of unrealistic expectations and that nagging feeling that you owe yourself and your family the “perfect holiday” no matter what financial, emotional or family challenge you’re facing.
The way I see it, common holiday gripes fall into three categories:
I can’t afford it! If it’s hard to make ends meet under normal circumstances, the additional cost of buying gifts, mailing out cards, and putting up holiday decorations – plus splurging on festive clothing, and holiday meals – can make your bank account scream for mercy.
I don’t have time! Wondering how to heap all the extra holiday chores on top of your normal workload? Wish you could skip some (or all) of the decorating, shopping and entertaining? Doing the holidays up right is a big job, especially when you’re also juggling family, work, and household obligations (and who isn’t?).
My extended family makes me crazy! Unresolved family issues from the far and recent past are often exacerbated by the holidays. As an energy healer, I can assure you that memories of holidays and special occasions, good or bad, lodge in your psyche – and come flooding back every year. Unresolved family issues, resentment, trauma and abuse come to the surface when everyone gathers, and what was supposed to be a season of brotherly love can become a pressure cooker of stress and anxiety!
You can take control of the holidays, and have a light filled season on your own terms. Here are some tips that you owe it to yourself to try:
Scale it down. Got time or financial constraints? Give yourself a pass on any events or obligations that you can’t (or don’t want to) handle. Henry David Thoreau may have been on to something when he said, “Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.” If you’re dreading attending a fancy event, quote Thoreau to yourself and blow it off in favor of something that gives you real joy – like cuddling up on the couch drinking hot chocolate and watching The Good Wife! Scaling down goes for gifts, cards, travel, or anything else that doesn’t contribute to your true enjoyment of the season.
Give yourself and your family the gift of forgiveness. Hit the “reset button” with your family. Spend time before the holidays journaling about each of your family members, and consciously forgiving them for past wrongs. You don’t have to forget, I fact, pushing down negative feelings is the worst thing you can do! Simply acknowledge your feelings about the person or event, and choose to forgive them. You will feel a sense of relief and lightness that will carry you through the season. While you’re at it, forgive yourself in advance for tackling the holiday on your own terms – skip the guilt if you choose not to bake, send out cards, or buy gifts.
Experience the joy of helping others! Being of service is the key to your own enlightenment and balance. Spreading your light to others less fortunate is especially important during the holidays, and it can be accomplished in small ways that bring joy to the giver as well as the recipient! Bring cookies to someone ill or alone, sing in a choir, donate clothes or small gifts to the needy, or just make a special effort to have a kind word for the harried service people who are working extra hard this season. When you take the pressure and stress off yourself by approaching the holidays on your own terms, it gives you the spiritual bandwidth to help others!
Take care of yourself. Don’t let holiday obligations cause you to put your own spiritual and health practices aside. Make sure you schedule time for yourself to meditate, exercise and journal. This will keep your mind clear and your spirit light – allowing you to enjoy the season and spread that joy to others around you. Get plenty of rest, and don’t go overboard on rich food or drink.
The goal of tackling the holidays on your own terms is to finish the season with an abundance of joy and more light. Make time for the things that you love about the holidays, and skip the rest! You’ll wake up in January ready to tackle the New Year – without finding yourself in the hole when it comes to your finances, your health, or your spirit!