It’s begun. The rush to the holiday season is upon us. Madness in the form of turkey recipes, shopping lines, or the perfect gift for the frenemy in the office is descending upon everyone who has enough money in their pockets to be concerned about such things.
Holiday decorations. Pies. Uncle Jack’s drinking problem and Aunt Sally’s really bad wig. Underdone turkey and burned dinner rolls. One half of the family not talking to the other half, but both halves coming to YOUR house. Working too hard at work. Not having a job to go to. Battling your own sense of entitlement while trying to curb your kids’ “gimme” attitude. Battling your sense of despair while wondering how to provide a special, memorable time for your kids when the cash isn’t there. There’s a reason the holiday season accounts for more cases of depression than any other time of year, and strangely enough a lot of it seems to revolve around the having, or the lack, of money.
I’ve got the beginning of a solution. It doesn’t matter how much money you have in your pocket; it’s not a complete solution, either, and I’m pretty sure I’ve stolen this from someone else. But it’s a start. Ready?
Breathe. Take a few deep breaths. Stop your kitchen/shopping/bill-worrying madness. Go outside, spread your arms wide, breathe deeply. Feel the sun (or, if it’s night, the chill) on your face, and give thanks for being able to breathe. If you can, get your hands into the dirt. Plant something, or pull weeds. If there’s snow where you are, burn some frustrations off by building a snowman of any size (NOT as easy as it seems). Remember, you are not your bank balance. Remember to laugh!
Next, understand your place in the world – not in “bank account” terms, but in geologic terms. The mountain you can see outside your window (or the ocean, the plain, the forest, the desert) doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your Aunt Fanny’s tendency to blurt out uncomfortable truths at the dinner table. In fifty years, will anyone still be alive to remember the upside-down pumpkin pie on the kitchen floor, or that your child dumped hot gravy down your mom’s silk dress? Um, probably not. In the grand scheme of things, and whether you’re religious or not, as the decades pass the stuff that has your guts tied up in knots today won’t matter. They just won’t.
Does that mean that what you do doesn’t matter? Of course not. Kindness wins over selfishness. Happy memories win over mere things. Love – shared, expressed, and heartfelt, wins over all the pettiness that this time of year can call out in people.
I worry. Don’t for a minute think I’m immune. I worry about what to give my family this Christmas – my boys are grown, so the toys of previous years aren’t appropriate. My hubby and I have everything we need, really. How to make this year special? I don’t know, but I’m determined to figure it out. I will never say I’m not a worrier.
But… the old adage “you can’t change the things that happen – you can only change your attitude toward them” is true. So I worry, then I put it away. Nothing I can do about it, so I look to the bright side of things. I know “the papers will show up in the mail”. I know “you’ll get the job”. I know, deep in my heart, that what I TRULY desire, as long as I focus on having it, will come about. It may not be in the package I think it should be, but it’ll be there. All I have to do is accept it.
So what it comes down to is, you have a choice. You can handle the holidays the way you’ve always handled them – spend too much, eat too much, bicker too much, worry too much, get pulled in a dozen different directions and battered by everyone else’s opinion on how you should live your life – OR…
You can Breathe. Resolve to put worry away, even if it’s just for a few hours at a time. Share your love. Let your family, friends, heck even your boss (if it’s appropriate) know how much you appreciate them. Change your attitude about things that normally get you tense or upset (in 100 years, will this matter?!). Let loose your inner Pollyanna. If ever there’s a time to play the Glad Game, it’s now. Go around the dinner table. What are you Glad about this year? If (or when) it degenerates into a bitter-fest, sit back and laugh, because heck – why not?Wishing you love, and joy, and peace. Wishing you the perfect memories of the upcoming, imperfect, holidays. Wishing for you the gift of laughter, good health, and good friends. Sending hugs out into the world to all my friends, old, new, and not-yet-met.
lovely post. Thanks!
Thanks Liz – and thanks for stopping in, you busy Beer Wench!
Beautifully put, Christine! Happy Thanksgiving.
Happy T-Day to you too, Julie! Hugs!
Thanks for a great post. All the ads for Black Friday have had me upset (we seem to be forgetting about the day before Black Friday). I think I’ll take a deep breath and let it go. Whether people buy into the commercialism of not isn’t my problem. I’m going to simply enjoy Thanksgiving.
You are so welcome. This is actually the time of year when I try not to listen too closely to the news; try not to watch too much TV, or go to the store unless I really need to; and I try my best to stay away from Scrooges. Hugs, Maris – and a peaceful Holidays to you!
Amen, sister! And right back at you!
I will take time to hug the air right along with you, and breathe, deep, sustaining, breaths.
Happy Thanksgiving – let the wild rumpus begin. 🙂
I am SO ready for a wild rumpus! Hugs, Lynne!
Christine, you have made an excellent point–we can’t control anything but our reactions to stuff.
You know, we’ve whittled our holiday buying list down to just my husband and I buying for each other. We also buy for my parents.
The thing is, for years we spent a lot of money we couldn’t afford on gifts for everybody, their kids, and their dogs. I worked in the public and felt obligated to participate in office gift exchanges. When we put a stop to the buying, we were vilified as the biggest grinches in the world.
But the thing is, that isn’t what it’s all about. Is it? 😀
Catie, my problem is I love to give presents! I plan specific presents for people that I know I’m never going to buy and never going to give (you should SEE what I picked out for you, lol!). I enjoy doing that – but I’ve learned the hard way to be careful in my gift giving. Opening up that credit card statement in January was always something of a shock.
And…you’re right. Giving gifts isn’t what it’s all about. But it is a part of the tradition that I do enjoy. I don’t know yet how I’ll make this Christmas different, but I am determined to! Hugs hon!
Ain’t it the truth. thanks for a lovely read
You are so welcome – it seems like a lot of us are on the same blog wavelength! Hugs!
What a nice post. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
Hey Janie – hope you had a happy Thanksgiving, too!
Wow.. I really like this. 🙂 You put things into perspective very well.
Thanks, Darlene! I try to keep things light, but sometimes the mom in me comes out and I can’t help but lecture, lol. Glad you liked – thanks for stopping by!
Aw, I love it Christine. And it was just what I needed to hear today. Thank you. We have been letting those financial matters get to us a little more than we should lately. Especially with Christmas upon us and Santa expected to perform. *sigh*
Ah, breathe. Essential. But hard to remember this time of year. Thanks for reminding me.