What would it take for you to really enjoy Christmas?
Christmas is nearly here. The shops are already full of tinsel and reindeer. If your blood pressure rises just thinking about it, if getting through Christmas feels like a chore, now is the time to start planning the kind of Christmas you can really appreciate.
You've got two basic strategies, and they work best if you employ them both. Let go of the ways of doing Christmas that stress you out, and deliberately invent the Christmas style that will work for you.
So how do you go about this? Here are some ideas that might get you started.
If they way you did Christmas last year made you cross, or tired or unhappy, that's a great reason to try something different this year.
Manage expectations. Let people know right now what you're interested in doing, and any limits you might be going to set. Keep your conversation focused on what you want to do rather than the opportunities you choose not to take.
Work out some natural beginnings and endings for activities so that they are about enjoyment rather than endurance. Rest and relaxation are just as important as feasting and festivity.
Celebrate the things that make a difference in your life. You might want to applaud your own achievements or praise qualities your children are developing. You might want to share memories or hopes with friends and family.
This is an excellent opportunity to let your family and friends know how important they are to you. Christmas offers an occasion you can use to mark the experiences that bring you joy.
Go to your celebrations with a clear idea of what you enjoy and value about every one there. Make a point of letting people know what you like about them. Do it early on and give good will a chance to be the flavour of the occasion.
When someone doesn't like your idea of a joy filled Christmas, or seems to be spoiling for an argument, take hold of your good will. That's the spirit of Christmas after all. Just assume you both have amiable intentions and decide it really doesn't matter if you don't agree. This is one occasion when you don't need to convince each other.
Christmas is a great opportunity to give priority to principles about togetherness and acceptance. If you feel like your choices are fighting or biting your tongue, you might try toasting the rich diversity amongst you. Acknowledging and even celebrating difference has a way of bringing people together.
You don't have to be run ragged by someone else's Christmas rulebook. Take the initiative, turn your creativity loose and choose a Christmas that offers you a genuine enjoyable celebration.