I was discussing Christmas letdown with a friend. After all the preparation and money and time spent for one day, she feels the day let her down. Instead of a day of joy and happiness, it is a day of exhaustion and depression. Here are some ways to prevent that lacking feeling.
Have realistic expectations. If all of our focus, for six weeks or more, is to make one day perfect, it is no wonder we feel disappointed. We have set ourselves a goal which cannot be met. Focus on what Christmas day means. Traditionally, Christmas stands for a time of happiness, peace and joy. Try and notice the positive going on around you and decide how you want this season to be for you.
Don’t blow the budget. Set an amount of money that you can afford to spend and stick to it. Even small children can be a part of this. Explain to them that Santa can only give a few things on each list because there are so many children, in the world. Look up a census of different countries so they can get an idea of the huge amount of children that Santa has to deliver toys to. Trying to please everyone, with the perfect gift that we cannot afford, sets us up for long term buyer’s remorse.
Try carpool shopping. Set a time to go to the mall with friends. Fit as many friends as are legally safe in a car. Branch out once you get there and agree to meet a few hours later. Have a cup of hot chocolate or coffee and share your experiences with one another. During the holidays, it is often difficult to make time for friends and still accomplish all that we want. Carpool shopping encompasses both.
Take a fifteen minute break, for yourself. Paint your nails. Read a chapter of a book that you have been wanting to read. Lay back for fifteen minutes and listen to soothing music or Christmas carols. Practice fifteen minutes of yoga. A common complaint is that we never have time to take fifteen minutes out of our day, for us. However, you will find that if you make the time, the rest of your day will go more smoothly.
Remind yourself that giving does not always involve money. Loneliness, in the elderly, is most acute at this time of year. Take an elderly friend shopping or invite them to your house. Give extra canned food to a food bank or volunteer at a soup kitchen. Involve the whole family in these activities. The reward to our emotional health that these activities provide is priceless.
Take a look at the gift of Christmas past. Take an accounting of your “ah" moments which you have experienced in past Christmases. Was it the wonderful meal, baking cookies or the look on your child’s face when he/she saw the tree? In your mind smell the smells, see the colors, hear the sounds and savor those moments. Now, choose three “ah" moments and give them priority, in planning this year’s Christmas. Don’t worry about any of the other details of Christmas. If you can produce three “ah" moments, it will be a Christmas worth remembering.
Stay in the moment. Sometimes we get so far ahead in our planning that we lose the minute, the hour and the day. The Christmas season encompasses more than one day, so don’t make it about only one day. Enjoy the unfolding of the Christmas season.
Practice just a few of these strategies. You will not only avoid the Christmas letdown but find that you enjoyed this Christmas season more.
Constance Weygandt is a balance mentor, author and speaker. For more information on the holidays or to sign up for Constance's newsletter, visit her website at http://www.balancedwellnessonline.com