Christmas happiness can be yours
Christmas happiness is sometimes shown as chocolate box pretty, snow globe perfection as if you can capture magic and preserve it in glass. For many, Christmas can be a painful time of year, for others it feels like barely controlled mayhem! It is more than possible to experience true Christmas happiness but it does take a shift in thinking and energy. To tap into the magic of Christmas and avoid the mayhem you need to handle a few myths first.
Christmas happiness Myth 1- Everyone is happy at Christmas (except you)
It may feel as if everyone around you is excited and anticipating Christmas with joy and happiness. You feel that if you express any concerns about the holiday season you will be the Grinch at the party. Well, that’s not true. One survey says that,
…45 percent of all Americans dread the Christmas season….
For goodness sake! Something has to change and we need to see that we are the people to change it. I have said this before but I’m going to repeat it, “Happiness is a choice” and we owe it to ourselves to make that choice. The first step is to understand that you are not “everyone”, you are a unique individual and do not have to measure yourself against others. So, if you feel that all around you people are happy at Christmas, while you feel miserable, stop comparing yourself. You have no idea what others are truly experiencing, you are master of only your own destiny, so let’s take control of that destiny, and decide that you will choose happiness this holiday season.
Christmas Happiness myth 2 – You need money to be happy at Christmas
There are people who are genuinely poor and will struggle this Christmas, that is a fact, but oddly enough it does not mean they won’t enjoy Christmas happiness. We often moan about the commercialization of Christmas and then go and spend a fortune on our credit cards anyway. It is an uncomfortable fact that many will be paying for Christmas for months to come, and their spending will not have made them happy. This Christmas, spend some time working out what you can actually afford and stick to it. When you face January without additional Christmas debt you will feel much better. Money itself does not buy happiness and expensive presents for loved ones will not guarantee their happiness either. There is a lot of conflicting research on the effect of money on happiness but a really good take away from much of the research is
..focus on simple strategies for getting the most happiness out of the money you already have..
Christmas Happiness Myth 3 – Christmas looks like the movies!
This is about our expectations of Christmas being unrealistic. When we expect something to look like a rainbow and we get grey skies we are even more disappointed. Now, I am a great believer in visualization, but not in manufactured magic. If you want a chocolate box Christmas you are setting yourself up for falling short of an ideal, an ideal that is made in a movie studio which is a far cry from reality. Stop for a moment and reflect on what you truly want from Christmas, what is important to you? Now, close your eyes and see it, what does it look like, feel like, smell like, taste like, sound like? Engage all your senses and for a moment don’t even think about how that is going to happen, just explore what Christmas happiness really feels like.
Christmas happiness magic is possible when you tune into what is really important to you and focus your energy on that. Start with gratitude, be grateful for what you have right here right now in the present moment. Stop thinking about tomorrow, the next day and the holiday season. Get present and connect with your now. This will quiet the mayhem and the holiday season chatter in your mind. Use meditation techniques to center yourself and calm your spirit. Let go of that inner nagging negative voice that is telling you how to have the perfect Christmas.
Let go of past Christmas experiences that were negative; they are in the past, you cannot change them so don’t hang onto those toxic thoughts and allow them to poison your present or your future. Shift your focus to others. Every piece of research on happiness has agreed that when we spend time on others well being our own increases; yes charity is good for your soul! This usually means time rather than money. When we spend time helping others it actually increases our own sense of happiness.
Keep it simple– a practical technique is to write down everything you think you want to do for Christmas; buy for Christmas, have for Christmas, then walk away and do something else for an hour or so. Then look again at what you have written and tell yourself you can only do three things in each category on your list. What is really important? What will have the MOST impact on your overall happiness and the happiness of others?
Let me give you an example;
Spending time with loved ones is top of most people’s Christmas list. HOW you spend that time, where and what else is going on is almost irrelevant! When was the last time you actually sat and had a conversation with, your parents, your children, your other relatives? I mean, really talked to them. Having a wonderful Christmas lunch with all the trimmings is lovely, but we almost always buy too much and have a lot of food left over. Then everyone falls asleep full of food! How about, going for a walk after lunch, connecting with nature and talking as you walk, connecting with your family? This costs nothing but the human interaction and love is a priceless present to give. How about playing a board game from your childhood, rather than having the television on or all the other electronic gadgets that can cause us to separate rather than join together as a family.
So, my Christmas happiness list might look something like this;
- Bring my darling husband breakfast in bed Christmas morning- he always gets up so early for work and brings me breakfast the rest of the year, now it is his turn to be spoiled.
- Prepare Christmas lunch together, taking about our hopes and dreams for the coming year
- Visit with an elderly neighbor who is alone this year
- Enjoy lunch with my son and his wife and go for a walk with the dogs afterwards
Nothing on my list talks about what gifts I am buying because I will buy what I can afford and actually put aside some money to be able to visit family and friends next year because that is more important. My focus on Christmas happiness is to be with people I care about and spend some real time talking with them because we are all so busy the rest of the year.
Decide that Christmas happiness is your choice and focus on what is really important. Be sensible about your spending so you start the year without that horrible feeling of debt. Connect with your family, your friends, nature and resolve to do something to help others. When the holiday season is in full swing, stay in the present moment, do not drift into past experiences or fret about the future, enjoy the now.
I wish you all the Christmas happiness possible, and if you need some help with the holiday season, reach out and connect with me.