advertisers tell us that thanksgiving has turned into "thanksgetting", and black friday continues it's insatiable creep into that brief day of gratitude. consumerism attempts to render quiet wonder in front of the manger extraneous. even if jesus is not the focus of their celebration, i doubt anyone would say that they want the source of joy in the season to come from more and more and more purchasing.
what feelings come to mind with thoughts of the holidays? panic, dread, exhaustion, joyful lightness? my shoulders tense and i recognize my need for focus at the beginning of this season. i need a recalibration of expectation and then a plan.
here's an assignment for myself…feel free to play along, if you like. take a break and sit down with pen, paper and a cup of something warm.
~write down what you'd like the holidays to feel like. what feels warm, happy and luxurious to you as you think about the next month. would it feel great to just sink into bed with a movie and hot chocolate? would you like to sit around a big table with your closest friends to eat, chat and laugh? do you want to see wonder on the faces of your little ones? do you want to make cookies together or hug your mom or take a long nap? what sounds just heavenly to you?
~what feelings do you want to have? relaxing, laughing, warmth, love, togetherness, connection, quiet, awe, gratitude?
~what feelings do you want your loved ones to have?
~how can you achieve those results within your values, budget, time, comfort? what can you not do this year?
~what would you like the days following christmas to bring? or not to bring? i doubt it includes debt, piles of wadded up wrapping paper, or forgotten toys to clean up.
if we'd like our holidays to not feel hectic, stressful, bank account draining, and disappointing, let's make changes. we can create joy and wonder, togetherness and connection, quiet and relaxation. we can change expectation in ourselves and our children. we can honor family and tradition in new ways.
there are many ideas around the web, but i encourage you (and me) to come up with a plan that feels right for you. i'll try to bring some stories together here to remind us that we are not alone…but for now, i will try to remember that this month can fit with my values. my actions are my own. i have the power to shift the focus of the holidays. these are gonna be good ones! :)