Holidays or Hellidays?

October 31, 2016

Gif courtesy of's

17 Important Life Lessons You Learned From A Christmas Story

Christmas often arrived early for me...

My father, dear Alvin, had this annoying habit of mailing Christmas gifts early.

We often did not spend the holidays together, for a variety of reasons, but even if we did, he would mail them (yes, it's true) ridiculously early.  

Like in August.

(Perhaps this has helped me with delayed gratification, now that I think of it.)

He and his wife did their holiday shopping all year: Their strategy was "to get it out of the way early so we can enjoy the holidays."

While 'getting it out of the way' doesn't drip with Christmas spirit, I totally get the second half of that concept. 

Last year I wrote this blog post in early December about asking yourself some new questions and setting intentions to have a good holiday season. In hindsight, early December was too late, given how early so many people begin planning and preparing for the holidays.

So often, we overbook ourselves, spend too much, stress out about 1000 different things... and they do become Hellidays, missing the whole point of the spiritual meanings of the various holidays and the opportunity to have real quality time with family and friends. And then, we just want them to be over.

Before the holiday decorations show up in the stores is the time to talk with family and friends about how to have truly happy and healthy holidays, to discuss often ferociously-clung-to traditions and how to modify them to make them more do-able, sane, and enjoyable for everyone without losing the essence of the particular thing itself.  

We're often afraid to have those conversations, so we avoid them, and then have miserable times during the season.

But, really, what's to be afraid of?

  • Simply refresh everyone's convenient amnesia about the miserable time had by all last year or in previous years, 
  • have several ideas ready to propose that you know will pre-empt the whining or fear of change,
  • ask for everyone's input, too, ask what they need: It may spark some creativity and problem-solving you hadn't even thought of, and then
  • ask directly for agreement from each person to make it better.

Having the conversation this far removed from the holidays provides distance needed from the emotional attachments and increases the chances of a better outcome overall.

And with that, I am looking at my own list of holiday cards and gifts to ship early, as in this regard I am my father's daughter.  (At least I don't ship until after Thanksgiving.)

And, I will be setting intentions for what I want to feel and do during the holidays:  

  • Ease
  • Simplicity
  • Wonder
  • Surprises
  • Walks in the snow (a girl in rainy Portland can dream)
  • New beginnings
  • Honor, and
  • Deep gratitude.

With love and cheer, and snowflakes and twinkly lights (in my mind in October, anyway),



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