Imagine your kind of Christmas – Carole Solberg, M.A., R.Psych.

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  • September 2, 2014

The human mind strives for meaning. It is well recognized that people create meaning in their lives by how they interpret life’s events. Suppose your vision of the holiday season is lots of entertaining, shopping and family get-togethers as well as maintaining the spirit of the season. This image would necessarily involve money, effort and time to make this happen. Suppose you inject the image with an overlay of happiness with no delays or upsets. Add to that picture the element of “perfect” moments. What would be anticipated with joy and eagerness could easily leave you feeling empty, tired and disillusioned.

This scenario implies that even the best of intentions may not produce the result you desire. Make sure that the people in your family agree about what makes a satisfying holiday season. Spending time, working hard and interacting with others, even those we love and cherish, will fall short of the mark if we have goals for other people – unless they agree with us. In other words, disappointment is sure to follow unrealistic expectations.

What can you do to achieve a meaningful holiday season for yourself and those you love? Here are some ways to frame a plan:

  • Become aware of what you really like and value about your family’s holiday traditions. How much household agreement is there to continue these? What’s essential? What’s become a burden or ho hum instead of ho ho ho? Find out.
  • Do some in-depth examination with yourself as well as your family. Have roles changed? Are there different time pressures this year? Have finances changes? Look at the layers.
  • Explore. Think ahead or muse out loud…”I wonder if…?” “What would it be like if…?” Form a strong vision.
  • Experiment. Once you determine that changes are needed, write down your new plan. Anything you can start to do, do it bit by bit.
  • Decide. Communicate what you can and will do. Get agreements and commitments from all involved.
  • Make a firm resolve. You have to start to finish. Write out your schedule with as much detail as you can and cross off items as you do them. It feels good to check off jobs as you do them as well as giving you a sense of calmness.
  • Let go. Enjoy the eggnog, the laughter and the ingredients that make for a meaningful holiday.