It’s mid-November people. Do you know what that means? “Christmas is coming, It’s practically here!” With only six weeks until Christmas, holiday season is upon us. Again. And I for that matter, have resolved to toss this out…
It is said that the term “Grinchy” shall apply when Christmas spirit is in short supply. If you get razzed every year for being the Grinchy one in the family like I tend to, this post is for you. If you are like me, yes there may be some thoughts and opinions you and the Grinch have in common.
Like… all the Christmas parties: “The nerve of those Whos. Inviting me down there – on such short notice! Even if I wanted to go my schedule wouldn’t allow it. 4:00, wallow in self pity; 4:30, stare into the abyss; 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one; 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me – I can’t cancel that again; 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing… I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness. But WHAT would I wear?”
Or the nonstop supply of food: “Am I just eating because I’m bored?”
And of course all of the gifts: “That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? That’s what it’s always been about. Gifts, gifts… gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts! You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I’m saying? In your garbage. I could hang myself with all the bad Christmas neckties I found at the dump.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I love certain things about Christmas. I don’t “Hate hate hate, double hate, LOATHE it ENTIRELY!” The Grinch is on his own there.
While the boys in my family are yelling, “Blast this Christmas music. It’s joyful and triumphant.” I am turning it on the day after Halloween and letting it play as long as possible… well into January.
I like Christmas parties, I just get overwhelmed with how many there are to go to sometimes. And all the food?! It’s delicious. It’s just the fact that my pants are usually a bit too snug after the holly jolly season has ended. My fault I know. But still! And finally, gifts… or rather the commercialism of Christmas. And all the crowds… I may loathe entirely.
But the simple fact of the matter is, everyone enjoys the holidays differently. And if you don’t want to get tagged with the spirit animal of the Grinch, it is best to learn to appreciate all types of holiday celebration and do what you can to enjoy it in the way you appreciate most. Now mind you, this also includes allowing others to celebrate the holidays in the way they appreciate most without it dampening your cup of holiday cheer.
So with that in mind this year, I have made a goal to spend more time soaking up the things I enjoy about the holidays, and less time being anxiously grinchy about things I don’t particularly appreciate. Want to join me? Here’s what you need to do:
Take Time to Recognize What Makes the Holiday Season Special for You
- List 5-10 things you enjoy most about the holidays.
- List 5-10 things you don’t like or that cause too much stress.
- Think back to your most memorable Christmas.
Everyone’s lists will look different and that’s ok. There will be things to compromise on but having a clear idea of what you want out of the holiday season will help you weed out things you may have nonchalantly said “yes” to in the past… Like getting that live Christmas tree that makes a mess all over your house when you really would be just fine with the fake one from Wal-Mart. Or making sure your kitchen is fully stocked with peppermint ice cream and hazelnut hot chocolate. Mmm mmm.
The last item on the list I think is most important. Thinking back to your most memorable Christmas will be a good indicator of what you can do to create more like it. My most memorable Christmas was one of the last Christmas’s my family spent together before all of us kids started getting married. My dad came home from work one day with a fat wad of cash. We were all curious what that was all about and after dinner, he sat us all down to share the plan. He wanted this particular Christmas season to be focused more on those around us, particularly those who might be in need.
So, we started our very own version of the 12 Days of Christmas. He handed everyone in our family $120 and instructed us to do some act of service every day until Christmas Eve. We could use the money however we saw fit to serve those around us. We were just to keep track of our experiences and report back when it was all over.
I don’t know if my dad ever got the report he was hoping for, or knew how big of an impact that Christmas had on me. The task was harder than I thought it would be. Finding people genuinely in need of help can be difficult as such people are often quiet about their situations. But as I spent time each day looking for someone to help, I realized that there are so many small and simple things that can be done to brighten someone’s day- and that in turn it brightened my own. And furthermore, small and simple acts of service are needed just as much, probably even more than grandiose ones.
For me, that Christmas made me realize I need to spend more time serving and less time worrying about everything else going on. The Grinch and I have both come to realize that a special Christmas… “came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags.”
So this year, I think I just might try another round of my Dad’s 12 Days of Christmas. And drink a cup of hazelnut hot chocolate every day. Yup, that should do the trick.
Before the holiday season is in full swing, I hope you will take time to reflect on what makes things special for you, so you won’t be looking back with a bunch of “wish I would haves” … or “maybe next years”… or “never again’s!” like I have done for way too long. Good Luck!