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How to avoid the holiday madness and enjoy yourself Dec 08

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How to avoid the holiday madness and enjoy yourself10.0105

One big clue that we live in a strange world is for me the fact we even have expressions like “holiday madness” and articles like this one. What in the world is that? Aren’t holidays about rest, relaxation, fun? Have I missed some important lesson in school?

Left and right, I hear people talking about the upcoming holidays like they’re talking about a job they hate, about work they accepted by manipulation and actually wanna avoid.

Remember when you were a child? A holiday was simple: less school, more play, which equaled more fun. Then you grow up and something happens (other than the fact you find out Santa does not exist). You start turning a holiday into one big to do list, filled with things you must do, and you must get them right.

Here are just some of these things:

  • I must buy presents for everybody;
  • I must send emails, messages and postcards to everybody;
  • I must decorate the tree and the entire house;
  • I must prepare a big and lovely holiday dinner;
  • I must make sure all the right people are invited;
  • I must do charity and help others;
  • I must make a new year’s resolution.

And as if all of these are not pain provoking enough, you add the ultimate holidays’ expectations:

  • I must make the holidays special for me;
  • I must make the holidays special for the people around me;
  • I must enjoy the holidays;
  • I must make sure the people around me enjoy the holidays.

With all these “musts”, the concept of “holiday madness” is starting to make sense. You create it; in your head. You take holiday traditions and turn them into obligations; you take holiday wishes and turn them into desperate wants. After a holiday like this, you can’t wait to get back to work!

By this point, I’m positive you already have a good understanding of what the primary way to avoid holiday madness is: letting go of the imperative expectations about what you must do and what must happen during the holidays.

It’s a process. Like most personal development journeys, it starts in your head. This one with asking yourself what would happen if you would drop some of these tasks and expectations. What would happen if you stopped buying gifts to everybody? Would they really stop loving you? If they would, do you really want a type of love which is this fragile? What would happen if you skipped on the Christmas tree this year? Is this plant the main source of your potential holiday joy?

Once your shift in thinking is happening, you can start doing a behavior change. Do more of what you like, instead of what you used to think was required, and keep things simple. When you can avoid the holiday madness and actually enjoy yourself, you are going places.

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Category: Attitude, Lifestyle  | Tags: , , , ,
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12 Responses
  1. Since moving to China, I’ve had absolutely no pressure in regard to Christmas. Living in a culture where it’s not really celebrated has it good points. Bad point is that you have to work on Christmas Day normally.
    Gordie Rogers´s last blog ..Lifestyle Design – Three Ways To Know You’re Ready! My ComLuv Profile

  2. Henri says:

    Awesome post. I actually stopped all this several years ago and have actually never been into it. I don’t buy gifts for anyone and I don’t expect anyone to give me anything in return, because frankly, I don’t need more stuff. I do not decorate unless I feel like it. I basically treat the holidays as any other time of the year. Not many people talk about this, so I was surprised to see you mention it.

  3. Hey Eduard:

    Great reminder to keep things simple in life.

    I was never a fan of madness and trying to satisfy everybody. Just like you mentioned holidays turns into “please everybody” holiday. By keeping things simple and close to home, you will be able to avoid this whole mess.

    I think another great way of accomplishing is to make people special all throughout the year instead of accumulating all of that “burden” for holidays. Here is how we can do that:

    1)Thank to people who have helped you instantly
    2)Keep in touch with people year round
    3)Spend time with people that are important to you at other occasions

    Either way, I loved reading a refreshing and clear article about this upcoming holiday madness :)


    Tomas S.
    Tomas Stonkus´s last blog ..Do Things For The Wrong Reasons My ComLuv Profile

  4. Eduard says:

    Gordie: This is why I like the idea of visiting other cultures.

    Henri: Me 2. And I’m amazed when I see some people get so stressed over the holidays.

    Tomas: I like your 3 points. Useful.

  5. This advice couldn’t be more true! I am beginning to reach an age where I am no longer the kid of the family but an adult, so I am feeling the weight of these new responsibilities. It can be painful and it really sucks out all the magic of the holidays. This is a great post and I appreciate you sharing these ideas. I will be trying to implement this as the holiday season looms closer.
    Steven Handel´s last blog ..Create A Progressive Timeline To Better Envision Your Goals My ComLuv Profile

  6. Kylie says:

    I agree completely with the idea that our expectations of what the holidays should mean create most of the tension. At this point I have to confess to not yet having the christmas tree out of storage yet, and only intend to do so when I have the time to put it up and enjoy the process – I really hope that is sometime before Christmas day :-)

    However, there is one very real stress with holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Ramadan, Hannuka, etc, FAMILY!!! For a lot of families a detente can exist during the rest of the year by keeping keeping visits short and keeping interactions to just 2 or 3 members of the family. Unfortunately, big holidays mean everyone comes together for an extended period, and all it takes is for one person to say the wrong thing or for someone else to interpret an ambiguous comment the wrong way and all those old family dynamics, conflicts, and role come flooding back. There is usually at least one person who is getting something from those old patterns and the best the rest of us can do is to try to rise above it.

    In my own family I have found a way to not buy into the whole process. I play a prediction game where I focus on the communication processes going on, see which family members are getting along well and which ones seem distant, see if there are any topics that keep being brought up, and then try to predict who will start the conflict, how they will do it, and how it will play out. The idea of all this is that if I can focus on the process of the whole thing I can hopefully not get dragged into the content. It doesn’t always work, especially if I’m tired or have other things on my mind, but it does help to remind me that the patterns and conflicts operate pretty much independently of any one individual, and therefore it is not any one person’s fault.

    Merry Christmas all.

  7. I must say having a daughter that is now almost four, I have an entirely new perspective on the Christmas season. This is the first year she is really “into” all the Christmas hoopla. She loved putting up the Christmas tree and decorating it. She loves looking at all the pretty lights. She loves the light up reindeer we have out front. And she can’t wait for to open presents. The amount of Joy and Excitement in her is absolutely amazing. It brings a whole new perspective to Christmas.
    Eric | Eden Journal´s last blog ..The Shoveler and his Golden Shovel My ComLuv Profile

  8. Eduard says:

    Kylie: I have some members in my family who try to enforce a lot of holiday traditions. I found I can ignore their attempts and play dumb if personally, I don’t give those traditions a lot of meaning.

    Eric: I’ll get back to you on this topic when I’ll have a four year old child, which will probably happen in about 20 years :) . Until then, looking forward to hearing from you on anything else.

  9. Alice says:

    I found the solution to this madness a few years ago: keep in touch with people I really like entire year, I go shopping in every day of the year if I want :D and buy a present to somebody if I like the object and I think it suites to somebody dear, I travel in other periods of time, less busy, noisy and cheaper :) if you ask me I just celebrate the greatest New Year’s Eve 2 weeks ago at the greatest party of the year with Marc Anthony ;) so in the next free days I will rest, read ,sleep, eat a lot of cakes and meet with the friends without any pressure. I only regret that we don’t have snow in Bucharest, to play in and with it.

  10. So true, everything starts in our heads. I am definitely skiping the maddness this year, took me awhile to come to this place and I love being this way.
    Lana – DreamFollowers Blog´s last blog ..Life Purpose: Do you avoid challenges? My ComLuv Profile

  11. Eduard says:

    Alice: sounds like an effective plan. I do something similar: I usually do my traveling in time periods other than those when most people do. PS: I love Mark Anthony. ;)

    Lana: meeeee 2 :)

  12. Eduard, I love this post. I’m considered a holiday curmudgeon because I basically let it all go. I don’t buy gifts, write cards, etc. I don’t expect anything either. I enjoy the occasional party and family get togethers, but that is it. I enjoy the time off. I hate the music and the atmosphere. I think it is all a bunch of nonsense. Further, people get insulted or their feelings hurt because somebody didn’t get them a gift as special or expensive as they gave that person. It’s like a contest. It’s ridiculous.
    Stephen – Rat Race Trap´s last blog ..Are We Disconnecting From Real Life? My ComLuv Profile

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