Pretty much every day, I'm working from a long and detailed To-Do list. Work stuff. Errands. Grocery lists. Calls I need to make. Emails I need to send. Stuff I need to pick up. You know. (Because you have one, too.)
When December hits, my To-Do list just becomes that much more crazy. Gifts I need to buy. Extra chores I need to do. Even MORE errands. Cards. Letters. Gift wrap. Bows. A dessert for the office potluck. You know. (Because you have one, too.)
The week before Thanksgiving, I met my friend, Sandie, for coffee. I launched into my growing dread of the season ahead. Too many parties. Too much shopping. How would I decorate? What would I wear? And, oh! The work deadlines looming.
Basically, I could have been a contender . . . for the World's Biggest Whiner.
Then, Sandie interrupted me with a smile . . . "but I thought you liked the holidays?"
I stopped mid-whine.
Because I do.
I DO like the holidays!
So I did a little reflecting. . . about what had happened. Where had my "liking the holidays" gone? And how had I gotten so "bah!humbug!" about the whole thing. Ultimately, I decided this . . .
THIS year, I'm going to change my attitude about the holidays. I'm going to be intentional about having fun and enjoying the unique, busy-ness of this particular season. I'm going to roll with it and not let the extra activity and higher expectations stress me. I'm not going to play along when others start whining about the holidays.
You know why?
Because we don't HAVE to do this.
We really don't. We can choose how we celebrate the holidays -- and how we deal with the holidays. (And even IF we celebrate the holidays.)
For me . . . I choose . . . a renewed focus on enjoying the holidays this year.
So, yeah. My every day, working To-Do list is STILL a mile long. But that's not the list I'm going to share with you today. Today, I'm going to share my OTHER To-Do list: The Things I Need To Do . . . to enjoy the holidays this year:
- Smile at people. Everyone is stressed; everyone is hassled. It's that time of year. I'm trying to remember to smile and be pleasant. It helps.
- Socialize. Between work-related parties and friend-related parties, I have lots of social events to attend this month. Rather than wish I were at home with a book and a glass of wine, I'm going to enjoy spending time with friends and colleagues. (And I can still have a glass of wine!)
- Turn on ALL the twinkly lights. I love to decorate for Christmas -- and I especially like twinkly lights. This year, I'm going to take my time decorating . . . and I'm going to make sure to use ALL of my twinkly lights! (And I'm going to turn them on every night - and in the dark mornings, too.)
- Dress up. It's fun to wear holiday clothes -- a little sparkle, a little pizzazz! The best thing about attending events and parties . . . is deciding what to wear. And this year, I'm going to have fun with it.
- Plan fabulous feasts. While I love Thanksgiving, there just isn't a lot of . . . creativity . . . in the meal-planning. In our family, at least, we tend to like the same menu for Thanksgiving, year after year after year. What is great about Christmas, by contrast, is the openness to trying new things at meals. This year, I'm going to have fun planning - and cooking - fabulous meals for my family.
- Just send the cards. I love to get cards and letters in the mail during the holidays -- especially from friends and family that I just don't stay in touch with on a day-to-day basis. I love it when they send family photos and update-letters. So, even though I say (every year) "I'm not going to send cards this year" . . . I'm going to send cards this year!
- Relish every crazy moment of having BOTH kids (and a significant other) home for the holidays. It doesn't happen very often anymore, so I want to enjoy having BOTH of my grown-up kids back around my tree this year.
- Surround myself with music. I'm lucky. My job . . . is all about music. This year, I want to stop thinking about the holiday concerts and performances as my WORK . . . and, instead, let the music set the tone for the soundtrack of my holiday.
- Give. This year, I want to give generously -- of my time, of my resources, and of my heart! Not just gifts -- but year-end charitable donations, too.
- Work out. Frequently -- and hard! If I keep moving; if I keep sweating . . . I know I'll be able to handle the stress and the hassle of the holiday season. (I'll also be able to eat a couple more cookies . . .)
How about YOU? What's on your To-Do list this holiday season?
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