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 Priorities and the Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be a wonderful time, but we often don’t experience them that way.  Demands on our time, both social and work, tend to increase.  Traffic slows down, shopping becomes a chore, and it often seems like the holiday spirit just means everyone is in a bigger hurry and that much quicker to get irritated.

Since many of us believe the holidays should be about family and our connection and relationships to others, the holidays can end up being a big downer.  I thought I would take this article as a soap box to preach a bit about making sure you create time for connection and relationship over the holidays.

One thing to consider is that the holidays really have become about the “stuff.”  I mean, really.  If a Martian were to land and observe our society for the latter part of November and December, they would probably come to the conclusion that the “holidays” were created for the purpose of insuring commerce was healthy and businesses made a healthy profit before the end of the year.

The messages about the stuff and the gifts and the deals and making sure you do it all right are powerful and compelling.  It is easy to get sucked up in them and buy into the rat race.  I’m not in any way trying to come down on the gift giving part of the holidays.  I love a good gift as much as the next person.  But I think it is important for us to keep it in perspective.

Take some time and think through what you really value, or want to value, about the holidays.  Then make sure you make those values a priority and carve out time to create experiences that support those values.  This might mean you have to say no to some parties or pare your gift lists down a little bit, but in the long run it might make it a more meaningful, and more memorable, holiday season.  I encourage you to make shared time and experiences with those who are close to you a priority.

My parents sent a message to my sister and me this year that they don’t want any more “stuff.”  They said they had enough and were actually trying to cut things down, so they didn’t want to get any more stuff for Christmas.  I applaud them for that.  It does make gifting them more of a challenge.  I do value the giving of gifts and want to give them something meaningful.  Now I have to find a way to express my feelings about them that doesn’t have to do with stuff.  That might be a good thing because I’m not sure my “stuff” choices have always been particularly good.

I encourage you to think through the values you would like for you, your family, and the people you touch over the holidays.  Then make choices and support those values rather than buying into the idea that the holidays are to support commerce.