Another holiday season is upon us and the “hustle and bustle” is more like a “mad” rush! Thanksgiving Thursday is overshadowed by Black Friday, enticing holiday shoppers from the dinner table to the waiting line in order to get the best bargains stores have to offer. For some, the pressure is not only about purchases but about people they will visit during the holidays . Increasingly there appears to be a sentiment among many that the holidays are not happy but horrible due to family problems or losses experienced. Rather than “embrace” the holidays, they are simply trying to “endure” them.
Requests for counseling increase at this time of year. Some of our clients ask, “Is it possible to keep the happy in the holidays?” The answer of course is yes. However, it is a matter of choosing what to focus on. Here are some tips to think about as you approach the holidays.
Set realistic expectations with people and with yourself
Oftentimes people are hurt or disappointed because they are expecting something others are unlikely to give. You hope for a compliment, yet end up with a complaint. Don’t go overboard trying to do too much to make others happy or gain their approval. Also, live within your own limits. Be true to yourself.
Set financial limits on spending
One of the biggest joy-wreckers is buyers remorse. Spend within your limits. Communicate this with family members. This will reduce stress emotionally and financially.
Spend time remembering those you lost
The holidays are especially painful for those who lost loved ones. Share pictures, tell stories, laugh and cry together.
Spend time caring for the less fortunate
Caring for the needy, the lonely, and hurting people is a good way to keep the happy in the holidays. The words of Jesus Christ make sense, “It is better to give, than to receive.” Your community or church may offer opportunities for you to serve the less fortunate during the holiday season. Caring can cure your pain.
Embrace the virtues of the season
Themes of joy, peace, hope, and love remind us of the reason for the season. Choose joy in the face of adversity. As far as it depends on you, live at peace with others. Place your hope in God to see you through. Finally, give the best gift of all this holiday season. Give the gift of a kind, respectful, and loving self to others.