Holiday Lover or Holiday Hater: How you think about the season matters


Are you a holiday lover or hater?

Being neutral about this time of year is rare.

I love the holidays. I love the candles and lights brightening up the long, cold nights. I love the glitter and sparkle. I love certain treats that I only eat during the month of December (rum balls!). I love walking by Christmas tree lots and smelling the cloud of resin-y sweetness. I love mistletoe and kissing under it.

Did I say I love the glitter and sparkle? Because I really love it.

You may be a holiday hater. You may find this time of year more stressful than fun, more fraught with negative emotions than with cheer. I understand that, too. It’s an interesting time of year, as in the old curse: May you live in interesting times.

It’s, also, a matter of perspective. (And really, what isn’t?)

There is reality–mobbed malls, car-jammed parking lots, end-of-the-year work projects, Secret Santa shopping, another Christmas ornament broken by the cat.

But then there are our thoughts about realityI don’t have time for this, how can they expect me to get all of this done, what happened to my bank account, I don’t know why I even bother trying.

You can’t change reality. You may be able to change your thoughts about it, but negative thoughts can be very persistent. It takes a lot of effort and practice to shift them to the positive side.

There is a kinder, easier way that you may never have entertained. Here goes:

You are not your thoughts.

Your thoughts are a process of your mind, be it located in your brain, your gut, or beyond. Just as your heart pumps blood and your gut digests food, your mind creates thoughts.

Think about that and expect that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to let its truth sink in. The next time your mind begins spinning tales of gloom and doom, thank it for trying to keep you safe and then firmly ignore it. Pretend it’s the insistent drunk at the office Christmas party. Be polite, then walk away.

This may not be miraculous, but it will give you some breathing room to enjoy whatever it is you like about the season. There’s got to be something: Your mother’s fudge, department store window displays, “Christmas in Connecticut” (the original version with Barbara Stanwyck) or reading a holiday card from an old friend.

Or glitter and sparkle.

If nothing else, remember this: These winter holidays come around just once a year. You can consider them wonderfulness or a bother. Either way, the hoopla is almost over…