We’re in the run up to Thanksgiving and it’s that time when thoughts turn to all the preparations for another Holiday Season - the presents, the parties, the outfits, the “Oh Shit I should have starting dieting a month ago!” thoughts. Ah yes, it is truly a magical time of the year!
It’s a time when you’re not only thinking of your gift shopping for others but you’ll soon be asked by your nearest and dearest what you would most like to find under the Christmas Tree this year. Perhaps the greatest gift we could give ourselves this Holiday Season however is not sold at the mall - perhaps it’s to unshackle ourselves from stuff that just weighs us down.
We tend to err on the side of over-consumption always hopeful/delusional that the next bite will taste better, the next pair of shoes or outfit will be the one that somehow transforms us into some higher realm of stylish sophistication, the next trending gadget that pops up in our newsfeed will solve some problem we never even realized we had. It’s a magical but noisy time of the year and it’s easy to succumb to overwhelm.
Don’t get me wrong I have obsessed over sparkly baubles, felt certain that my life would improve exponentially if only I could wear those Jimmy Choos, and generally overspent on adornments to the point that my closet resembled a small boutique. I am not here to Scrooge you out and dump a big buzz kill on your Holiday preparations. I am a massive fan of the Holidays, but I think it’s helpful to check in with what you really desire before you start handing over your wish list or hitting the mall.
The National Retail Federation in the US forecasts that we will spend over $720 billion this Holiday Season, an increase of just over 4.5% from last year. That works out at just over $1,000 per consumer according to the NRF website. While gift-giving is a fun and exciting part of the season, I know, that once January comes around, there’s often a consumption hangover. So, how about we avoid that this year while still having an absolutely magical Holiday Season? Are you in?
We’re Making a List - We’re Checking it Twice
Make a list of everything you’d like this Holiday Season. Now, write down WHY you want it. What’s your “WHY”? is big in business speak, but equally important for individuals. When you’re clear on your WHY - why you want to get fit, why you want to travel, why you want to build your online business, why you want financial freedom, why you want to drop those 10lbs - it’s infinitely easier to act in alignment with your WHY.
So all I’m suggesting is think about your WHY - what’s really important to you - and think about what you would like on your list that would align with that. I know I’ve often bought things or asked for things for Christmas that are just distracting trinkets that I tire of rather quickly. They were just stuff, things that brought me pleasure, short-term, but didn’t contribute to my overall happiness.
Recognize the Difference between Pleasure and Happiness
Pleasure is fleeting but happiness endures. We are happiest when we are moving towards the fullest expression of ourselves. It’s about growth and being more of your fabulous self. It’s about expanding and trying new things and taking risks and learning. When we take that path, sure there may be disappointments along the way as we hit obstacles, but ultimately we’re growing and it feels damned good!
Pleasure fades like the sweet taste of that fifth square of chocolate - or, in my case, it was decimating a box of Sees Candies (well they are the best!). Happiness is when you can enjoy all the pleasures the Season has to offer, but without the escapism of over-indulgence. You’re aligned with something stronger, a WHY, that is respectful of your body and health in this case. Take some time to think about the difference, and then look at your Holiday List again and see whether you’re getting the balance right, for you.
Serve Yourself First!
It’s the Season of Goodwill but you can’t give what you don’t have. Self-love, self-compassion, and self-care are enormously important. When you treat yourself with the love and respect you so richly deserve you are in a position to give to others in more meaningful ways. So, it may sound selfish, but it definitely is not; you must always, always, serve yourself first!
The Holidays are typically when we attend the most social gatherings with both friends and family. We might see old friends we haven’t see in years who are back in town. We could bump into that guy we dated back in High School or that woman we had a falling out with eons ago and it can be fun and bloody stressful too! The older we get the more we believe we’re supposed to have accomplished also, so we can throw that into the mix, and hey let’s add a sprinkle of self-loathing because we didn’t lose that weight and now can’t fit into that outfit and blah, blah, super-blah! You get the picture!
Comparison is the thief of joy so just let that sh*t go already! Everyone really is fighting a battle you know nothing about no matter how shiny and perfect their lives might look on social media, no matter how big the house or how flash the cars. Ditch all that nonsense and meet everyone where they are and with the very best version of yourself. When you serve yourself first at the counter of love, compassion and care, you just don’t have any room for self-loathing or self-criticism or jealousy or any of that corrosive B.S. So don’t under-serve yourself. Err on the side of too much and then go spread all that light and positive energy everywhere you go this Holiday Season and beyond.
I Believe The Beatles!
Ringo, John, Paul and George knew what they were talking about when they wrote “Money Can’t Buy Me Love” . There is no trinket you can buy that will make you happy. Happiness is an inside job, and you know that already. I love to buy gifts for people and put thought into what they would really like, especially for my kids. So I’m obviously not saying, don’t go shopping. Have fun and be joyful! Eat chocolate and drink champagne! Bring all your fabulousness into making this Holiday Season as magical and wonderful as possible for you and yours.
So this Holiday Season I just ask you to be mindful about your WHY and act in alignment with what will truly make you happy. Make space on your list for things or experiences that will serve you and your long-term happiness. When the last decoration is taken down at the end of the Season, let’s make sure we have no regrets, and no crazy credit card bills, but rather just wonderful memories
Wishing you and yours a very, very happy Thanksgiving!!