As the holidays grow near many people are getting stressed. They don’t even want to hear anything about the holidays. Their blood pressure rises with the mere thought of it.
People grumble about the holidays coming every year (myself included). A time that is supposed to be special is now dreaded.
I think it’s time we take a good hard look at why the holidays have become such a nightmare and make the shift back to what the true meaning is.
Holiday stress tends to be for one of two reasons. Either you are overwhelmed with family drama, present buying, parties, work events, finances and lots of expectations from everyone…or it is a time of loneliness and sadness.
Loneliness around the holidays affects a HUGE number of people. It can be because you lost a loved one, you’re not in a relationship, you don’t have family, and the list goes on.
We’re surrounded by movies of happy people and everyone you know has somewhere to be with their significant other on their arm. Everything seems magnified and because it’s the “holidays” for some reason we are more aware that we are alone.
Here’s the thing, you are NOT alone. So many people are in the same situation. The world is becoming more and more disconnected.
I have spent the last 5 Christmases alone. I don’t have a close family, most of my friends are married and go to their events, and I encourage my son to spend the holidays with his dad’s side of the family because they always have big family gatherings and I want him to experience that.
I’m typically fine but I have moments where I feel incredibly alone. There are so many suicides at this time of the year because people feel like their lives don’t matter. Like no one cares. We give those “ideas” a home in our minds and believe it.
We live in a culture that has led us to believe that the holidays are supposed to be full of family and friends and if you don’t have that something is wrong with you. NOT TRUE!
The thing is that most people that do have a lot going on…they are stressed out and they would actually like to spend the holidays alone! They are forced to travel to see family and they dread it a lot of the time. We always want the opposite of what we have!
The truth is that the holidays aren’t like the movies with happy families full of love and joy. There is a WHOLE LOT of stress that goes along with that as well as pressure.
Christmas has made a change for the worst. It’s not about spending time with people you love anymore. It’s about spending a ton of money and worrying if people will even like what you got them.
So many people return presents if they don’t like them. Gifts have lost their meaning. People have lost the joy of Christmas and what is was meant to be. There is a whole lot of greed out there.
You know what I love? Cards. Seriously, I’m happy if people just send me cards! I think cards are so meaningful. Someone takes the time to find just the right card for you. Then they write a meaningful message that touches your heart. I save most of the cards I receive and I go back and read them sometimes. They mean more to me than any gift!
So what can we do to bring back the happy part of the holidays? These are ways that I have found to make a significant difference in how your holiday goes:
4 Ways To Put The “Happy” Back In The Holidays
Talk to your friends and family about the holidays. The most important thing is to speak from your heart and be honest. Be kind and don’t worry about hurting feelings, focus on how it can be better for all of you. Make some suggestions of ways to simplify the holiday and make it more focused on fun and the gathering.
Create a list of what makes the holiday so stressful and then come up with ideas on how to simplify it. I guarantee if you are stressed, the rest of your family is probably feeling the same way. Talk to everyone and make a plan to ease any burdens.
Think of ways to come together that would be more fun and less stress such as:
- Make a rule that no one can be rude, judge each other, or be mean in any way. It can be a “day of kindness and love” rule!
- Have a one present $20 limit on gifts per person
- Have everyone buy only one gift and then do a drawing for gifts so that each person receives a gift and each person only buys one gift
- Have everyone make gifts for each other this year – this one is fun and can be quite comical! An ex-boyfriend and I did this one year and we were in tears from laughing so hard and it was really meaningful and fun!
- Decide to NOT do gifts and just make it about the kids
- Make homemade cards for each other instead of gifts
- Make the holiday about getting together, being kind to each other, and FOOD!!!
Be The Entertainer!
If you are a person who likes entertaining (or even if you don’t and want to do something nice) have a holiday dinner at your house for all the people you know that will be alone otherwise for the holidays.
There are so many single people out there who either don’t have family or are far from home for the holiday. It doesn’t have to be a big deal.
Have everyone bring a dish and you make the main dish. That eases the pressure on you and your guests. If you do a gift exchange, just have everyone bring one present, number them, and then have everyone draw a number and pick out their present. Easy breezy!! And you bring together people who would have been alone otherwise.
Do Something For Strangers
One powerful way to shift the way you or your family does the holidays is to do something together that helps others. Here are some basic ideas:
- Put together gift baskets for people in need
- Bring toys to a children’s hospital or homeless shelter
- Find a needy family in the neighborhood, cook them a meal, and buy them some gifts, then leave it on their doorstep, ring the doorbell and run away. Keep in mind it will make most people feel uncomfortable if you wait at the door and expect a reaction. It’s more special when it’s a random gift from a stranger.
There are a million things you can do to make the holidays about other people and in turn it blesses you as well! When you do something good together it will shift the focus and meaning of your holiday get together as well.
Let’s shift the mindset of the holidays! Let’s reach out more. Let’s step up and say something when things are more stressful than they are fun. Let’s be the ones to change it and make it better.
I hope you all have WONDERFUL holidays full of peace, love, and kindness to each other.
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