Face it. The holidays make us all a little crazy. Deep in the recesses of our minds we long for that magic when we were kids, before we figured out “Santa” was just dad or a crazy uncle or the guy with a beard in the mail department. Occasionally there’s a flicker of joy, a reminder that humans can be pretty cool – maybe it occurs to you while watching a flash mob commercial from T-mobile or when you watch a children’s Christmas program. But for the most part, there’s a lot more on your “To Do” list and a lot less peace on earth as the holidays ramp up. (Let’s not even talk about the stupidity of Black Friday rioting at Walmart for $2 waffle irons!)
You’ve heard all the advice — set a budget, don’t drink too much at the holiday party, blah blah blah.
Here’s five REAL tips you can use:
1. Your Relatives are INSANE. Yes. They are. So are mine. Everyone has at least one member of their family they don’t want anyone else to meet. If you don’t think you do, then it’s YOU. Don’t take this personally. Do not believe for a moment you can get all these people together in a room during the most intense time of year and expect everyone to behave. THEY WON’T. They will eventually show their true colors and their worst sides (especially if alcohol is involved). Expect this and you can manage it better. Set a few ground rules about politics and religion discussions, and hide the crystal if your family is prone to throwing things!
2. You will not get everything you want. The people around you are NOT Paying Attention to your deepest desires for the holidays, nor have they taken notes when you’ve longingly looked at something you think they should buy you. They are caught up in their own holiday angst and are secretly thinking YOU are paying attention to them!
Oh well! If you want something badly enough and can afford it, go get it. If you can’t afford it and hope a rich uncle will give it to you, ASK for it. And if for some reason you weren’t first in line to get that $12 iPhone 72 (is that the number we’re up to yet?) Then don’t worry about it. It will be obsolete in – count’em – 36 days and you can just get the next iteration.
3. Everything gets old, dies, becomes obsolete, gets broken, becomes useless. Even YOU. Yes. That shiny new thing you’re craving will be next year’s Salvation Army donation. That brand new car will get keyed or door-dinged. That XBox will be useless when the next Point-Oh version comes out. Don’t spend three months salary on something that will evaporate over time. Of course, spending money on a great meal with wonderful friends can be a good expenditure… unfortunately, that meal won’t evaporate… it will just show up on your hips and thighs for years to come. Which brings me to …
4. Just because they put the menu for 17 different meals on the buffet table, you don’t have to eat ALL of it. Over taxing your digestive system makes you stupid when you need to be making good decisions (like don’t drink 23 shots of tequila before talking to your boss at the Holiday party!) Most holiday fare is high in sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol. Not a great combination for clear thinking and healthy interactions. Try this – eat before you go to the party. That will take the edge off the alcohol and make the food less tempting. Then get a small plate instead of a big one and put spoonfuls of the most CALORIE-WORTHY food on there. After you’ve eaten that, go back again. At least you’ll get a few laps in while you go back and forth to the table!
Don’t take yourself too seriously! We aren’t paying all that much attention to you!
5. No one really remembers how you decorated your house, what you wore, or probably what you gave them last year! Unless you’re some socialite who has every moment digitally recorded, most people don’t give a rip either! In other words, we aren’t paying all that much attention to you. So decorate or don’t. Wear the same dress/pants (if they fit!) Don’t over extend your budget on things to impress because, well, most of us are too jaded to be impressed anyway. A good book, a gift of friendship, a meal together, a helpful favor – like shoveling their sidewalk or walking their dog – will be remembered far longer than flashy things.
A little perspective goes a long way. Find your priorities this year. Don’t overextend yourself. And take a few quiet walks in the beauty of the season around you. Look up from your computer now and again and remember there IS a world outside of cyberspace. Have relationships outside Facebook and LinkedIn. Time goes by so fast. Don’t waste it. You only get so many Christmases.
© 2012 Beth Terry Seminars, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May be quoted with attribution.
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