I love this time of year — decorations on the houses, a cold nip in the air, beautiful music everywhere you go. I often have a hard time understanding why so many people get so frustrated during the holidays — until I go out in public and partake of the madness. Between the crowds, the crazed spending, and the pressures to participate in every social event that comes along, it's no wonder that some folks dread this joyous season!
The focus during the holidays is supposed to be on joy and love and generosity. But we often become quite myopic in our celebrations — unable to see past our own worries and expectations for the season. If you find yourself getting irritable and short-tempered and Scroogey this December, I would ask you to rethink your priorities a bit. Are you so focused on shopping and baking and making your house look perfect that you've forgotten the real reason for the season? If I remember correctly, the holidays are meant be a time of peace and goodwill toward others, a season of giving — an opportunity to practice being the person you always hoped you could be. But how can you do that when you're going 90 miles an hour?
This year, I invite you to step off of the treadmill and redefine the holidays according to your own standards. Who says that you have to have a nervous breakdown to celebrate properly? Where is it written that you must give in to the consumer feeding frenzy? The season is whatever you make it out to be. Some folks really enjoy the flurry of activity, they thrive on it — but if you want to trade in all the chaos for a period of calm with your family, all you have to do is learn to draw some boundaries. I also hear many people complaining that they are tired of the commercialism — but what are they doing to put a stop to it? Are they cutting back on gift-giving, spending more time with family than they do in front of the TV, refusing to get caught up in a competition over who can throw the best holiday celebration — perhaps serving Christmas dinner to the homeless? The only way to change your experience of the holidays is to change your actions.
We're so busy during the holidays — always going somewhere, doing something. But there is a lot to be said for stopping and just sitting still. I can't tell you how much I enjoy lighting a few candles, putting on some soft music, and curling up with a book and a cup of tea. That's my holiday quiet time, and I cherish it as much as all the frantic “fun.”
Do you make room in your holiday for quiet time? If not, what would it look like if you did? Yours might involve a walk through the neighborhood looking at lights, a church service, or time with your kids before bed. Build some silence into your list of rituals — you will find that the other celebrations seem much less hectic and more enjoyable.
I'm not particularly religious — and while I certainly appreciate the origins of Christmas, I personally tend to celebrate the more secular aspects of the winter holidays. However, I do believe that this is a very spiritual time of the year — the mid-point of winter has always been about renewal and rebirth. It's the natural season for reflection, reviewing the past year and setting goals for the next — but only when give yourself some space in which to think and focus. To start the year off well, you also need to end the previous year on the right note. How will you make that happen?
Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream with The Husbert and two fur-babies. Learn more at GettingOrganizedAToZ.com and RamonaCreel.com.
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