Make This a “No-Expectations” Week!

I know, I know…

  • You have not finished your Christmas* shopping yet.
  • The whole family is coming into town this year and you’ve been designated as the shuttle driver to-and-from the airport. At last count, that’s five separate trips!
  • Your mother-in-law is ailing and this could be her last Christmas with the family.
  • As much as you’d like to have a white Christmas, truth is you’d rather not deal with the blizzard that is expected for the 24th of December.
  • Your basement isn’t finished yet but that is the only place for your brother’s kids to sleep while they are here.  That’s not going to be much fun for them.
  • The holiday for Christmas is the Monday after Christmas, meaning that you have to work the entire week before. How are you supposed to get all the shopping, cleaning, and running around in! There just is not enough time to get ready!

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit but if ever there was a week during the year to let go of expectations, it’s this one. Why? Because I believe there is an implied expectation that our Christmas holiday should match every holiday special we see on television.  It should align with the words that we hear on the endless stream of holiday music that fills our ears each and every minute of the day. In other words, we put the whole Christmas experience up on a pedestal based on unrealistic expectations and wonder afterwards why, once again, it didn’t measure up.

                     

I come from a big family. As kids, we always tried to emulate America’s family, the Osmond’s, as the ideal for how our Christmas should be. The problem was…we didn’t look like the Osmond’s…we certainly didn’t sing like the Osmond’s…we weren’t rich like the Osmond’s…and we weren’t shooting a television special and editing out all the imperfections.

Do you think it is a surprise that there is more depression occurring during the Christmas season than any other time during the year? It’s not to me. We are conditioned to think that we need to feel a certain way, be a certain way, and surround ourselves with this cluster of happy and loving family and friends. Really?

I love Christmas. But the truth is I love it more when I don’t get caught up in the hype. To me Christmas is about love; love for each other and love for ourselves. Period!  I think the giving and receiving of presents is often overdone and takes away from what Christmas is really about. We feed this beast when we provide our kids with present after present after present. Here’s an idea…how about just one meaningful present per child per Christmas! And, when you give it to them, you have to tell them what they mean to you and why you picked that particular present. Wouldn’t that be different!

So here’s my advice for this week:

  • Refrain from doing any comparisons between this Christmas and any other.
  • Avoid any and all reruns of the Osmond’s Christmas Special at all cost.
  • Focus on love during the week…both showing it and receiving it.
  • Do something nice for someone every day and don’t expect anything in return.
  • Be present and in the moment with everyone you come into contact with.
  • Spend time each day being grateful.
  • See the positive in every person and every situation that presents itself.
  • Expect nothing and be prepared for anything.
  • And don’t give a present without first telling the person how you feel about them.

And when it is over…remember that it wasn’t a good or bad Christmas…it just was.

-Geese

* I’m using the word Christmas generically and do not mean to offend those of you who do not celebrate it.

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