Are You Mad About the Holidays?
© Suzanne W. Zoglio, Ph.D.
I'm mad about the holidays can mean
many things: crazy in love with, crazy with
busyness, or even
crazy angry at all the commercialization. Which crazy describes you? Or, like me, are you a blend
of all three?
I love the holidays with all the music,
bright lights, and smell of fresh
evergreens. It warms my heart to
see neighbors open their homes to others and collect toys for children. I feel nurtured when friends deliver fresh-baked cookies or invite me in for a cup of cheer. I'm delighted to receive once-a-year notes from folks who still hold a place in my heart. It tickles me to create and give away small holiday paintings. I am grateful for so many opportunities to make a difference this time of year.
But, like most of us, I have been known
to get crazy busy, trying to pack so much in
that I end up
exhausted. I'm much better than I used to be, though, so I know There's hope¦ if you're willing to plan
and take a stand for sanity.
Taking a stand means breaking a few
rules. My Breakable Rule#1: All treats must
Sure. It's nice to bake Grandma's famous mincemeat pie for the family gathering, but remember Grandma wasn't working back then, and great prepared pies weren't so plentiful. Not to mention that if the pie plate looks the same, you have a 98% chance of no one noticing¦or even calling your purchased concoction the best you've ever made. If you're not quite ready to go store-bought, at least consider time-saving steps like ready-made crusts, prechopped nuts, or pre-diced fruit for the filling. Chopped celery for the stuffing, refrigerated mashed potatoes (no one will notice), or refrigerated cookie dough can all make cooking easier.
Breakable Rule #2: All traditions are
sacred. No they're not! Be kind to all is
sacred, but not eating
at 2 PM (if 5 works better for you), offering four different pies, mailing gifts across the country,
attending every gathering offered, organizing Pollyannas. Do something new that works better for
you. Invite people for a time that makes sense to you. Offer what you wish, not what you've always had.
Order gifts online. Send regrets to
invites requiring an hour's drive each way.
Give to charity instead of
buying dozens of silly exchange gifts. Just say We're trying something new this year. A few
eyebrows might raise, but I bet the sky doesn't fall.
Breakable Rule #3: More is better. The problem with the more-is-better approach is that it not only adds to the crazy-busy problem, but it also escalates year to year. You bring a bottle of wine; your brother brings two. Next, you bring a few, and the n he's sending a case. Try to remember it's the thought “not the amount- that counts. More stuff does not equal more thoughtfulness. Most of us would truly appreciate one gift that says someone knows us than five showy gifts that just seem to obligate us. Take the first step. Try simplifying this year and see if others don't follow your lead next year.
If you get crazy angry this time of year,
it might be because you feel out of control,
not doing what's
meaningful to you. Maybe you don't like all the giftgiving but feel obliged. Why not send a check to the
Red Cross this year and ask others to do the same instead of sending you gifts?
If too much reverie and not enough reverence makes you uneasy, attend a sacred music concert or an event at your place of worship. If you feel sad amidst the merriment, consider creating a tribute to someone you've lost, adopting a family to provide for their holidays, or volunteering at a soup kitchen or pantry.
If you enjoy what you love, avoid what you don't, and do something meaningful, you just might become happily mad about the holidays this year.
© Suzanne W. Zoglio, Ph.D.
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