Let the Holidays Be

By: Lynn Cutts

Ah, the holidays. That sleepless time of the year. That season when we become so frantic and panicked and worried about everything we've got to do that we forget to enjoy the process. That season of giving. And shopping and wrapping and shipping. And decorating, cooking and cleaning. Meanwhile, the challenges of everyday life continue.

Every year, no matter how much I vow to not get caught up in the usual holiday frenzy, I find myself baking cookies I won't eat (that perpetual diet, you know), buying decorations I may not even display (and if I do, it will only be for this one year), and buying gifts I may not give (in case an unexpected Gift Giving Opportunity arises.) I get so involved in the doing, doing, doing that I often forget to just be. And more importantly, to let my family just be. After all, if I'm turning into a grouch because I'm cutting back on my sleep, making everyone miserable because I'm too busy to participate in my favorite rituals, and overspending all my husband's hard earned money (as well as my own!), then by Paul, George, John and Ringo, I'd better be appreciated for it!

I think I've figured part of it out.

It's the "Last Chance to Shop for Christmas" messages that start as early as Halloween. I'm not exaggerating. I was receiving catalogs and advertisements reminding me that "There's still time to order by Christmas" as early as mid-November. Gosh, I hope so! The only people who are finished with their Christmas shopping more than two days before the big date (my mother comes to mind) are those who are a) incredibly efficient and organized, b) don't wait for the Christmas lists to come in from others but buy the first thing they see, c) have nothing else going on in their lives, or d) all of the above.

What if we tuned out all this last minute urgency and just accepted that we're going to be hitting the stores, along with all the other normal people, on December 23rd and 24th? The holidays aren't a race: no one gets an extra toy or more chocolate in their stocking because they had their shopping or baking or decorating done early. And even if we do get things done ahead of time, we'll find another holiday task (or ten) to fill up our newly discovered "spare" time.

What if we turned getting ready for the holidays into part of the holidays? What if we stopped trying to finish everything earlier, better, and faster than everyone else, and enjoyed the preparations? After all, That Day will still come, whether you've baked ten kinds of cookies, or one, or bought some from a bakery. It will still come, whether there are 1500 lights on your house, or a wreath on the door. It will still come, whether you've got your shopping done by July 23rd, November 23rd, or December 23rd. And it will be just fine, no matter what.

And even if it doesn't turn out to be perfect, guess what? You get another crack at it next year.

So relax a bit. Spend time with friends and family. Give thanks for the bounty around you.

And have a wonderful holiday season.

NOTE: You're welcome to use this article online in electronic newsletters and e-zines as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the "about the author" info at the end). If use of this article is desired in printArticle Search, you must first contact Lynn Cutts at Lynn@ManageYourMuse.com.

Copyright 2004 Lynn Cutts

Motivation
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