Happier Holidays – Part 1 (10/21/22)

At a recent luncheon with several of my blog readers, the talk turned to the upcoming holidays. They laughed when I shared the title of a recent magazine article I’d read: How to Survive Thanksgiving and Christmas. Survive?? Really?? As they told stories about how stressful some of their past holidays had been, I had an idea. Since I’ve written books and given programs on the subject, what if I devoted the next few issues to helping make their holidays less stressful and more enjoyable? The vote was a unanimous “YES! PLEASE!” So that’s what I’ll be doing in the coming weeks. I’ll share lots of ideas, so I hope you’ll stick with me – even if a particular post doesn’t apply to you at the moment. Perhaps the next one will!

It’s so easy for us to get wrapped up in holiday planning and preparing that we often sacrifice the very things we need to stay healthy. Taking Care of YOU includes adequate sleep, rest, relaxation, healthy food, exercise, quiet time for yourself and time with people special to you. It means focusing on your needs (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual … or whatever you need) instead of focusing on making other people happy. So I’ve created a special Gift Guide for you – gifts you can give yourself … no wrapping involved… and they’re free!

Gift # 1: Tear up your “holiday script.” Holiday stress is often a result of the difference between the holidays we expect and the ones we experience. That’s because everyone brings something extra (and invisible) to every family gathering. It’s their internal script of how they want the day to go. You may have your own script, but they can’t follow yours because they’ve brought their own. To put it mildly, things don’t always go as you hoped and planned!

We’ve all seen Norman Rockwell’s famous painting of the perfect family gathered around the perfect Thanksgiving table. Is that how your typical family gathering looks? It’s definitely not how ours unfolds! None of us can replicate that perfect picture because our gatherings are filled with imperfect people (including ourselves!)

Les and I are looking forward to hosting Thanksgiving because it will be the first time in four years that our children and grandchildren – 15 in all – have been at our table together. No matter how hard we’ve tried in the past few years, someone got Covid and our plans had to change. For many families it will be the first time they’ve been together. It may feel different. For others, someone much loved may be missing, and it will be different. Patience, understanding and respect are some of the most valuable gifts at any gathering. And they’re free for the taking… and the giving.


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