Updated: Dec 20, 2021
Christmas? Bah humbug! Aunt Felicity's voice grates on me. Mom makes me help decorate. Grandpa and Dad argue about politics! Can we go to the Bahamas and leave everyone behind?
Bahamas is nice, but we don't have to run away! We can choose to stay and honor the holiday even if everyone around us is miserable and drives us crazy. It's a decision you get to choose - Will I let everyone and everything around me make me hate Christmas? Or, will I intentionally choose to have a great Christmas? If you've decided to make this your best Christmas, here's a little advice to help you get there.
1. Don't Expect Miracles
Since I'm a writer I have a vivid imagination. It's great for writing stories but not so great when trying to deal with reality. Often in the past I'd create fantastic scenarios in my head about some miraculous event that was "supposed" to happen during the holidays.
I'll sell a screenplay. I'll meet the love of my life (I did but not during the holidays). All our bills will be paid. I'll get everything on my Christmas list. An enemy will become my friend.
Ironically, it was Christmas time when a producer told me that I shouldn't be writing movies. It was a bitter pill; I cried. Certainly not the Christmas miracle I envisioned. It's not that a miracle can't happen. Many do, but tying your Christmas happiness into an expectation can lead to serious disappointment.
2. Be the Miracle
Instead of expecting miracles, be the miracle in others' lives. Do you have bad habits that need some changing? Don't try changing them all at once but take some baby steps to improve them. One of my bad habits is when I see one of my daughters, I immediately ask, "Did you do this?" or "Could you do that?" Wow. What a terrible way to greet someone. After some reflection, I realized that maybe that's why they avoid me.
This will require time away from your phone and from others. Honesty is also a must. We don't like to admit we have faults. In fact, it's easier to blame everyone else. I blamed everyone, besides myself, for our house looking messy. The reality is, when I see my daughters as maids, how will they cultivate a sense of responsibility and pride for our home?
3. Be Flexible with Traditions
"We must have a real tree! Having a plastic tree is for wimps!"
Hmm. What's wrong with the above statement? First, it shows an hardened spirit. Second, how about all the people who have plastic trees? Are they wimps?
There might be times in our lives when we have to adjust our traditions. This year, St. Nicholas was unable to deliver on St. Nicholas day, so he arrived with full stockings six days later. Furthermore, sometimes new people come into our lives. Maybe they have a tradition they would like to share. There might be a health crisis or even a death. Suddenly the traditions we have held onto so tightly mysteriously float away and seem insignificant.
4. Take Care of Yourself
I don't mean pampering yourself every day at a spa. Use common sense. If you eat too many sweets, you're probably not going to feel so great. Drink water and make sure you're eating fruits and vegetables. If you stay up too late every night of the holidays, you're inviting Mr. Virus to move in. Get some exercise - shake out your arms, move the legs, and if you're able, try to walk (if you have dogs, they will appreciate you taking them along).
Finally, remember Christmas is not a race. You don't have to have Christmas cards sent out by a certain date. If it's too stressful, skip the cards altogether. You don't have to make 500 dozen Christmas cookies (well, unless you work for Martha Stewart). Learn to relax and enjoy the season and the ones you love.
5. Take Care of Others
Christmas is the season of giving. We have the greatest example from Jesus who gave his life for us. This is a great opportunity for us to be extra generous and mindful of the needs around us. We may not have everything we want; we may not have things go our way. When we help others, however, we're giving the gift of ourselves. Even if these gifts are not appreciated, you have done your part. Do not let someone's rudeness ruin your gift of generosity.
There you have it. Try these five methods and see if your Christmas improves. When Aunt Felicity talks, smile and take her coat or bring her a glass of water. Offer to help Mom decorate before she has to ask. When your dad and grandfather begin talking politics, suggest the family play some charades - the ones you'll find in the activity page of my website.
My Gift to You:
Thanks for reading. Check out the recipes and activities on this site! Check out my YouTube Christmas special where I give you the gift of encouragement and talk about my own thoughts of suicide.
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