I used to dread the holiday season.
I was the grouchiest Grinch you ever met.
Back when my kids were toddlers, the month of December meant: obligation, duty, resentment, chaos, clutter, and exhaustion.
I would attend fifty thousand holiday parties because my husband (who is far more extroverted and social than me) wanted to—even though I didn’t want to go.
I would race around town shopping like a maniac, wrapping gifts like an elf on cocaine, and preparing dozens of homemade cookies—even though I don’t end baking.
I would stress myself out and my poor children would literally burst into tears because they could see I was so frenzied and pissed off. Oh, the Yuletide joy!
Why did I do all these things when I didn’t enjoy it?
I wanted to feel appreciated, wanted, important, and loved—so I kept myself immensely busy, hoping my family would throw a Christmas parade in my honor and shower me with praise. They did not.
This carried on for an interminable length of time.
Then one year, I had a radical idea.
Create your perfect holiday.
What a concept!
I started by defining how I wanted the holidays to feel. Words like calm, spacious, quiet, restful, and inspiring came to mind.
Then, I planned the month of December to generate those kinds of emotions.
I told my husband I would happily accompany him to one holiday party, but that it.
I purchased holiday treats from a local bakery and it felt great to support a small business.
Instead of cramming my schedule with “festivities” that really didn’t feel very festive, I scheduled workouts, runs, snowy walks, time to read, lots of pleasure and self-care.
I bought myself the gift I really wanted instead of hoping somebody would get it for me.
I didn’t send out holiday cards and somehow the world continued to turn, nonetheless.
I spent the month of December reading great books, lounging in fancy pajamas, drinking tea and honey from my favorite teacup, and generally feeling like a blissed out Empress of Winter. January 1st arrived and for the first time, I actually began the New Year feeling refreshed insureds of drained.
I’ve learned that nobody is going to give you the holiday season of your dreams.
You have to give it to yourself.
So, how do you want to feel this December?
This is an unusual holiday season. Most people are not traveling. This is sad and bittersweet, but also fees up a lot of space—a blank canvas to create whatever you want.
So, what do you really want?
Create the holiday that you want to experience instead of operating on auto-pilot. Cancel shit you don’t wanna do. Create new rituals that inspire and energize you. Make your own traditions. Be your own Santa.
Create your perfect holiday.
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