The results are in and the Holiday Season is the most stressful time of the year. It’s also “the most wonderful time of the year” (Love that song!) So how can we reduce the stress and accentuate the wonderful? Here are three ideas:
- Stop with the nostalgic expectations! Memories of Christmas’ past are great but if we are trying to reproduce past events every year we are headed for a meltdown. Most of our nostalgic memories are “cherry picked” from our past and they just aren’t real. We generally forget the bad and remember the good so even if we were able to exactly reproduce a past Christmas it still wouldn’t be real. Holding on to certain traditions is healthy but when these traditions become absolutes then they're going to make us and everyone around us unhappy. (Need I bring up fruit cake?)
- Find the uniqueness in this Christmas. Every year has its own special joys. I know it hurts when some of our family will not be with us this season but there are others who are here if we just look around. Think about ways of making this Christmas unique and ways to reach out and make someone else’s Christmas unique. Studies have consistently shown that when we focus outside of ourselves by giving, caring and serving we become happier. Wouldn’t Christmas be a great time to prove that fact?
- Focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Don’t let all the tinsel distract from the true wonder of Christmas. When we ponder the powerful message that God has loved us so much that he would actually take the form of a human and live among us … well that message beats some fat man delivering toys every day!
In case you forgot here’s a classic clip from A Charley Brown Christmas. Oh yes, and when you watch this clip notice when Linus drops his blanket. That blanket is his security and never leaves his side but when he utters some very special words he lets it go. In this season when we are so tempted to be anxious and fearful let the words uttered by Linus that were proclaimed by an Angelic Host be a deep source of peace and comfort.