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3 Things to Avoid and Get OVER This Holiday Season

“Fa la la la la la. . . . .*expletive*.”

It’s funny. Around this time of year you start to hear more people say “I just can’t wait for this time to be OVER.” Okay, I have even been guilty of saying this myself a year or two. What? I never said I was perfect! The holidays tend to evoke these feelings of excitement, dread, anticipation, stress, tension, depression, and overwhelm, and it is easy to let our insecurities really get the better of us. Next thing you know, we are relieved to ring in the New Year, pressing the reset button hurriedly as if to close the elevator door quickly on the last year rushing to get in! Finally—it’s over. So here are 3 things to get over this holiday season.

#3—Overselling. Don’t tell your gift recipients how much you saved (or how much you spent) on their gift!Maybe this is just a personal preference, but I get a bit fidgety about receiving a gift with a price tag still on it or being told the cost. Frankly, I find it uncomfortable. Truthfully, it’s just tacky. Granted, people get busy and forget to remove them sometimes. But take the time to remove the price sticker or tag, and definitely do not reveal the cost to your recipient (ex: “I’m glad you like it!It set me back $100!” or “It isn’t much—I’m a little short on funds this year.”) When you’re giving a gift, allow the recipient to just relish in the act of receiving a gift. Unless your intention was to give the person the best gift they have ever received, to get a gift in return, to be celebrated with enthusiastic gratitude, or to spend an obscene amount of money on the gift for appearances-sake, just humbly give your gift with no strings attached. Don’t attach your personal feelings or judgments about the gift or how it will be received—it only cheapens the gift, and the act itself, no matter how much you spent.

#2—Overspending money, and underspending time. The holiday season, no matter which holiday you celebrate, symbolizes many things: family and togetherness, gratitude, peace, and traditions, to name a few. However, I don’t particularly recall seeing anything that says “spend above your means and pay it back with your tax refund”. Nope—not written anywhere. It is easy to get lost in the myriad of sales and discounts trying to give a perfect gift or light someone’s day with a pricy object. Give a gift that has meaning this year: share an experience. Some of my best Christmas memories stem from the joy of spending time with my loved ones, from baking cookies and decorating, driving around the neighborhood to look at the lights, surprise visits from my grandparents who would sneak in after dark “on Santa’s sleigh”, to my inspection of signatures from the adults in my home in my failed attempt at revealing WHO in my family was fooling me as Santa. If you do not have the financial means to express your love and gratitude, remember that you can express love with giving of your time.

What are some experiences you cherish during the holidays?

What other meaningful ways can you celebrate your holiday?

#1—Overstressing! You’re too busy. Money is tight. The job isn’t giving overtime this year.There’s traffic.You’re missing someone. The ONE thing your so-and-so would absolutely love just sold out.Your budget just got broadsided by car trouble. The lights aren’t up yet. You’re hosting the big family dinner. The in-laws are coming… The list goes on and on, and we’re not supposed to stress?! Yes. Here’s why: stress and distress at the holidays are the result of worry, and worry is often based on something that had happened in the past that we are either trying to avoid or recreate. How we manage stress from January to October indicates how we will round out the year. Take a careful look at what your stress stems from and make a choice: be a victim to it, let it go, accept it for what it is, change it, on change your perspective on it.

Ask yourself, where is there room in my life for stress? Then, pull out your calendar in put in time for it with a reminder that says “stress now”. I’m guessing you won’t actually do this, but creating awareness around how you react under stress and how often you dedicate time to it will be a great starting point.

The common theme here is an underlying fear of “not being good enough” which we sometimes will try to mask with elaborate masks, like grand gestures and extravagant gifts. But what would life look like for you if you could quiet that voice and feel assured that you're more than just good enough? Before you can embrace others, you must first embrace yourself, flaws and all. You have the power to change anything that no longer serves you and creates abundance in your life.

This holiday, press pause on the family drama, enjoy your time (with or without them), and do what makes you feel good. Find even the simplest thing to celebrate.

Spread JOY, kindness, love, and gratitude.

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