I get a kick out of counting down the months to the holidays. . . “11 months until Christmas, 6 months until Christmas. . . ” Invariably when I do that women groan, particularly mothers. Clearly they dread the holidays. I LOVE the holiday season. When I pondered why my response to this end of year tradition is so much different than many women, and considered why I love it so much, I realized that my view of the holidays is very different than the “normal” view of many harried women.
“Too much to do. Too commercial! Not enough time!” The focus is on all that “has to” be done in create the perfect holiday for everyone and all the added tasks added to an already overflowing plate of responsibility. No wonder they feel overwhelmed! Too many obligations and expectations (many residing in their own heads). Where’s the pleasure in that! The holidays are seen as a time of high stress, too much to do, and not much fun. No wonder they groan when they think of the holidays!
I view the holidays as a season of caring, as an opportunity to demonstrate caring and connection with friends and loved ones. I enjoy having a reason to deliberately reach out and touch people I care about, with cards, small gifts, and special foods. I have fun doing that. The spirit of the season as I see it (not the commercial spirit, rather the caring and connection spirit) gives me permission to indulge my natural inclination to connect and give and express caring.
It’s so easy not to connect, to put off letting people know they matter, to put off spending time with them. When I let the special people in my life know they matter and spend time with them during the holidays, I invest in maintaining and perhaps strengthening those relationships. The process takes time and energy, yes, but those bonds make my life richer and give my life meaning. Add to that the added sensory pleasures of special music, lights, delicious foods, enticing smells. Plus, during December I also give myself permission to lighten up, lighten my load and step out of the daily grind so I can fully partake in the pleasures of the season. It’s my favorite time of year!
Above are two different perspectives of the holidays:
- a time of high stress, little real rest and the burden of extra responsibilities, and
- a time to demonstrate caring, enjoy special pleasures, enjoy time with loved ones, and lighten up.
What’s your perspective about the holiday season? Do you groan or smile? Do you focus on the possible pleasures or only see an endless to do list? Your perspective is a choice. What will you choose this year?