“Christmas!” or “Ugh, Christmas”

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This season means different things to different people. For some it represents stress – so much to do in a limited time. For others it’s all fun, excitement, and the joy of shopping. For still others it’s carols and nativity scenes and celebrating the birth of Jesus. For other people it’s family time. Where do you fall? Maybe you’re a combination of a couple of the above. Me, I’m definitely a combo. Christmas for me is Jesus, family, good food, decorating the Christmas tree, ogling Christmas displays… you name it. Growing up, Christmas was THE time of the year in my family. We went all out for the season – cleaning, painting, redecorating, cooking, early morning Christmas Day service, and family and friend get-togethers.

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Enough about me, let’s talk about your holiday. If you’re like me then you’ve already begun to enjoy the trappings. If you’re feeling stressed then this is for you.                        Why are you stressed? Sounds like a silly question, I know, but it really isn’t. I promise. Is it the pressure of choosing the perfect gifts? Is it getting the house to look just right? Is the tension mounting because all your family members will be together and they don’t all get along? Maybe Christmas holds unpleasant memories for you that cast a cloud over the entire season.

You can still enjoy the season, regardless of the reason. How? Change how you think. Simple right? No, but possible. Redirect your focus. Ask yourself, “What is my best Christmas memory? Why? How did it make me feel?” That’s the feeling we’re aiming for. The house doesn’t have to be perfect – throw on some carols and have fun cleaning and decorating it. Maybe make it a fun family event.

The gifts don’t have to be perfect – they need to show a personal touch (you do know your family members and friends right?) and not break the bank.

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Your family gatherings may be comparable to a not-so-peaceful street protest, but you can be thankful that they’ve made it through yet another year, and be grateful that it won’t last forever 🙂

If you have had an unpleasant or devastating life event occur around the Christmas season memories of that event may depress your mood at this time of year. If it’s recent give it time, allow yourself to go through the process naturally. If you lost a loved one, celebrate the season as they would have in their memory. People who love you want the best for you, and that includes wanting you to enjoy your life. Perhaps you didn’t lose a loved one, but you did lose something important to you. Be grateful you’re in a different place now and celebrate that. When you allow yourself to enjoy life you’re already giving a gift to those close to you.

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For many the new year represents new beginnings, but Christmas celebrates a birth – a new life destined to produce great change. How will you celebrate the season?

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