62 days until Christmas, and I have a plan

IMG_4405Call me crazy, but I am one of those people who don’t mind that Christmas decorations and gift ads are popping up in stores and online. In fact, I love it.

I believe that happy is happy, and if seeing winter decorations and thinking about gift ideas makes people happy, go for it.

Connecting people to positive feelings isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it is exactly what our brains need. Knowing that peppermint lattes will soon be available everywhere warms my heart, and I don’t even drink them. They are just another part of the cozy feeling I get as the thermometer drops and the days get shorter. But, the true benefit of these sweet thoughts is the powerful punch of positive chemicals they release in my brain.

I don’t believe the problem is that we are bombarded with holiday “trappings” earlier and earlier, to my way of thinking, if there is a problem at all, it is that we don’t realize that we can only feel “trapped,” if we let ourselves.

Early exposure to the holidays does not have to reduce the fun and holidays themselves don’t have to equal stress, nor do bad holiday memories have to predict similar ones in the future. Except in extreme situations, we get to decide how our holidays unfold.  I know this to be true first-hand. Letting go of past hurts and trying times can be difficult, but creating and then letting new experiences gain top-billing in your mind is worth the effort, and so much more rewarding.

On the flip side, for those who love the holidays, you can let yourselves feel the same joy that special treats and trimmings bring at any time of the year. The misty-eyed, fuzzy feelings the holidays evoke can be found in any moment we choose, all we have to do is zero in on the beauty or joy around us and there we are smack dab in the middle of wonderful – even without the Hallmark version of a snow-filled screen, china and crystal table settings or a not so surprising reconnection with the love of our lives!

You have 62 new and potentially wonderful days ahead to embrace or ignore the holiday season. The choice is yours; do what makes you feel good about yourself and the world around you.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. If you think it is too early for tinsel and lights, don’t let seeing them rile you. They are not worth the negative energy.
  • Yes, retailers want to get you in the mood to buy, but instead of focusing on their motives, and feeling trapped, think about the jobs that holiday sales sustain and create, and always remember no one but you makes the final purchasing decision. Not buying big or for as many people may be a change for you and your usual recipients, so let family and friends know ahead of time that you are cutting back, and then stick to your plan.

2. If you are all in, go for it. Enjoy and savor every special moment and feeling the holidays bring large and small.

3. To prevent any post-holiday blues, remember that those same rich and wonderful feelings can be felt throughout the year. Start now to connect to the joys of everyday life, focus on gratitude and learn to savor past and present moments that bring you good feelings to get in the habit of happiness.

Here’s to your best holiday season ever, however you choose to celebrate it.

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