Publisher - November 2022
It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving..”
Here come the holidays racing in
like they are being chased by a harried haint leftover from Halloween. Ready or not, in the next 55 days, most of us will run around inundated with mile-long to-do lists. Cleaning, decorating, traveling, cleaning, cooking, baking, shopping, cleaning, wrapping, partying…WHOA! I’m going to stop right there and give you permission to holiday differently this year. I don’t want you to be there (thinking if I can just get through the holidays), when you can be here (designing the holidays you desire).
Everything on that lofty list of to-dos I just rambled off can be enjoyable, but here’s a secret: even if that stuff doesn’t get done, you can still enjoy yourself this holiday season. You don’t have to define the “success” of your holidays by how clean your house is, how awe-inspiring your decor is, how many presents you buy for people, or if you burned the turkey (or forgot to unthaw it!) In fact, tell me three things you got for Christmas last year.
Maya Angelou is famous for saying, “People will forget what you say, they will forget what you do, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” I believe this can be applied to “getting through” the holidays, as well. Let’s paraphrase: People will forget what you cooked (that means you can buy some of it already prepared); they will forget if you use pre-made, old-fashioned bows (stick those suckers on those gifts), but they will never forget how you made them feel (give hugs, tell people you love them, have meaningful conversations)! In other words, slow down and smell the wassail—deep breath in, big exhale out! Repeat two to three times as often as needed. Don’t you already feel better?
Back to that “getting through the holidays” thing. Is that what you really want? Just to get through them? This is the year to be HERE, not there. Allow Thanksgiving to have its moment before moving on to Christmas. For that matter, envelop election day without debating whether it will be pumpkin or apple pie this year. Let each task and each day add to your holiday delight. Treat yourself as you prepare, and relish that you get to be here to celebrate with your family, friends or your dog or cat. Life is short, and we humans have a tendency to wish it away.
So what exactly does “be here, not there” mean? It simply means to remain in the NOW—heart, mind and soul—so you can relax, enjoy and cherish each and every moment. This is how those life-long memories that get brought up year-after-year are made. Don’t measure your happiness against an ideal you have set in your mind. For instance, if your mother tends to be critical about your cooking, don’t think it will be different this year. Your mom has not transformed into June Cleaver. Mentally prepare. Make a joke of it. Tell her you bought her store-bought dressing because you know she doesn’t like yours. Have a solution before there is ever a problem and move on!
Now there’s a key to having happy moments—moving on! Do not dwell! You knew mom would complain. Unbelievable, right? Actually, it’s completely believable because she does it every year. Stop talking about it, stop asking people if they can believe it—move on! It’s her problem, not yours (unless everyone else chooses the store-bought dressing, too:)
George Strait wrote, “Life is not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath way.” This is what the next 55 days is all about—those extra special moments that catch our breath and fill our hearts. Sure, there is a lot to do over the next few weeks. Let’s make a to-do list: Bake with the children, see smiles so big they melt your heart, hug people, listen to sweet little voices, stand under the mistletoe, dance in the kitchen to Christmas songs, hug people, tell everyone you love them, surprise people, send cards, see the wonderment in children’s eyes, feel love in your heart, go to parties, hug people, connect with those you haven’t seen in a while, laugh so hard you cry, connect with the meaning of the season, make someone's day, be thankful and hug people. Now that’s a to-do list that adds to the pleasure of it all. Enjoy every minute…and don't forget to hug people!