'Tis the Season

Christmas. It’s the season of warm, fuzzy feelings. It’s the season of giving, loving, and caring. 

Or is it?

Let’s look at the evidence. 

Impatience and irritation. It used to be that at Christmas, we’d have over-crowded shopping malls and super-duper long lines, but now we more likely face unavailable and out-of-stock items and late or lost Amazon parcels. Still, feelings of impatience and irritation.

Histories of pain. Stories like “20 years ago, in the heat of an argument, Bobby called his sister, Sue, a hurtful name, and Sue won’t forgive him, so they don’t see each other, especially during the holidays”, are all too common. 

People-pleasing. “Aunt Sally is coming and she can’t stand the napkins on the left side of the place setting on the table - make sure they are on the right. And Uncle Doug points out all the dust on the ornaments - make sure every square inch is dusted and spotless. And little nephew Tommy doesn’t like green wrapping paper - make sure he gets red.” 

Perfectionism. “I am not a good home-maker (and therefore I am a bad/stupid/useless/worthless/no-good loser) if the turkey is dry or if there is a food garnish out place.”

Complaining. “See your parents, again? An hour is such long drive.”

Judgments and gossip. “Did you see what Diane was wearing? Like, does she think that because you can zip it up that it fits!?” 

And new this year…

My side vs your side. Vaccinated or unvaccinated. Disputes. Yelling. Hatred. Shunning. Name-calling. Silent treatments.

None of the evidence sounds much like the season of Christmas. Where did all the warm, fuzziness go?

Here’s a secret: the “warmth” of Christmas doesn’t just “happen” because it's simply that time of year. The warmth of Christmas is there only because YOU put it there. So, if you can't find the warmth in Christmas, it’s because you didn’t bring it.

How do you bring it?

Be patient. Forgive. Be tolerant. Have more compassionate latitude. Seek more to understand than to be understood. Give. Love. Care.

How?

Practice. Practice now. Don’t start practicing on Christmas Day, or when guests start walking in the door. That’s too late to start in order to be successful. (You don’t start practicing your hockey skills on game day.)

Christmas is what you make of it. Let’s make this Christmas what it was meant to be. Let’s make this Christmas the season of giving, loving, and caring.

Here’s to conquering stress.

With heart,

The Stress Experts

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