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Lightening Up This Holiday Season

Today is the last day of November and I am already sick of Christmas. Part of me feels scroogy for saying this but another part of me is frustrated about how Christmas is shoved down our throats before we can even throw away our Halloween pumpkins.

I’ve noticed this forced jollyness is getting to other people, too. Why do we do this to ourselves year after year? We spend WAY too much money on gifts that will be forgotten quickly. Then, the rest of the December and January are a struggle financially because we went overboard during the holiday season. We grudgingly spend time with family, many of whom do not make us feel very good about ourselves. We pressure ourselves to be happy. Why? Because ‘tis the season!

Social media does not help either. We see all these families on Facebook smiling, rocking their matching Christmas sweaters. We see all the pretty decorations our friends have put up in their homes. But I guarantee you 99% of this perceived bliss is a facade. No wonder vast numbers of us get depressed during the holidays.

Children, however, are a different story when it comes to Christmas. My girls, ages 3 and 5, are at the perfect age this year to fully appreciate all the wonder that *was* Christmas for me as a child, before I had to start adulting. They get so excited about the lights, the decorations, the music. It’s really not about the gifts for them; they are spellbound by the overall aura of Christmas. Their happiness reminds me of how Mindfulness teaches us to be in the present moment, to not get caught up in the stories and the negative self-talk. Theirs is an energy of pure happiness which I believe we can emulate if we let go of perceived expectations of perfection and appreciate the moment.

Does it really matter who has the best decorations in the neighborhood? Or that you made your car look like Rudolph? Or that you fixed a gourmet, Martha Stewart-esque holiday feast while looking festive in your Santa sweater?

Can we all agree to just lighten up on ourselves this Christmas? I am going try...

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