One of the most challenging facets of managing Christmas is our difficulty in “seeing the forest for the (Christmas) trees.” If the hustle and bustle of accomplishing Hurculean tasks involved in tripling our social schedule doesn’t get us, then the necessity of smiling while experiencing extra frustrations surely will. We’ve all heard that pets can sense how we feel. Kids are far better experts at picking up on those feelings which we try to hide.
A major roadblock to our letting our tinsel of happiness shine during the Yuletide is the myth that it must shine all the time.
Learn by Watching the Tinsel
Ever notice the tinsel on your tree? It alternates between dull and shining phases. It would be hard to really feel the shine if there weren’t moments and spaces without the shine to provide contrast.
Because it’s the holiday season, we suddenly quite allowing ourselves and our children the much-needed full range of human emotion, and insist that joy and happiness are all that’s allowed this month. No wonder depression increases with the season.
This gunny-sacking of negative feelings can end up bursting and casting a shadow on a person’s fun and self-image. Guilt sets in because a person is not able to be happy all of the time, as the seasonal myth says we should.
Even the excitement and happiness takes a toll on children and adults alike. Relief and calmness are often called for along with an acceptance of the possibility of disappointments. These are at times part and parcel of the season’s happenings, as they are a natural part of life the rest of the year.
Empower Negative Feelings Along With all the Joy
Discussion about negative feelings reduces guilt and tension and prepares us to cope with such occasions. Perhaps attempting too much happiness for ourselves and our progeny in a short time can cloud our perception of what happiness really is.
The accompanying tension brings behavior and feelings that make perceptive people wonder if all this Yule Gruel is worth the effort!
A step in the right direction would be to let the tinsel of feelings have freedom of movement in ourselves, then in our children. Express the same range of feelings as you do the rest of the year. Try saying no without guilt to the events which bring you too much pressure.
Continue the Calm Rhythm of Routine
Budget your time so you’re not dragging yourself or your children around at the expense of eating, resting or customary closeness. If you usually read a night-time story, do keep doing it. If you usually sit a bit before going out for the evening, do it even if it makes you late for a seasonal engagement. Such routines help us survive daily life.
In addition, alternate exciting and calming activities so excessive tension doesn’t build up. (This is just as helpful for adults as it is for children.)
You’ll know you’ve wrestled with the “Spirit of Christmas Too Fast” and won:
- If you can encourage yourself and your family to continue being yourselves.
- If you’re listening to your own drummer and not that of the media, storefronts, or even neighbors and friends.
- If you can realistically aim for more cozy times than hard times.
AT FINE MOMENTS, here and there, you’ll be privileged to catch a glimmer of tinsel shining and realize you are shining that Christmas tinsel!
Copyright by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.