... And Christmas Present
The truth about these holidays is that someone's balloon will always get a pin stuck in it (and sometimes, like I was, you're the one doing the sticking). During that 6-week season, we can also count on being lonely, sad, or depressed. Not just because we indulge in comparisons with the past, but because during any 6-week period we experience a broad range of emotions, some positive and some downright miserable. Occasional wretchedness is part of being alive, even in the season to be jolly. If we allow ourselves to be aware of the full range of our feelings, instead of living with the unrealistic expectation of unremitting joy, we will not gain 10 pounds in an attempt to bury our emotions.
Most of us never consider what we really want from the holidays. We go through the days in a glaze of too much food, alcohol, and socializing, and not enough of what truly fills us. I recently asked a student of mine to describe her ideal holiday. She said, "I'd eat fruitcake without green cherries. I'd cry when I missed my father, who died 3 years ago. I'd be 100 percent present for my son's delight. I'd only go to parties I really wanted to go to. I'd scream every time I heard Muzak versions of 'Silent Night,' and, oh yeah, I'd blanket the world with peace."
Once she said that, she realized there were things she could control (green cherries, parties, time with her son) and things she couldn't (losing her father, Muzak in elevators, world peace). When she paid attention to making the most of what she could control--by weaving part of what made the holidays special to her into each day--she ate no green cherries, binged only once, and her pants were no tighter on January 1 than they had been on November 15. Call it a Christmas miracle.
Here are some questions to think about:
- What is your ideal holiday?
- If you could have exactly what you want, who would you spend time with, where would you go, and what would you do?
- What would you give and what would you receive?
Write down your thoughts. Then make sure that you feed yourself daily with that--in addition to fudge and eggnog once in a while.