The Happiness Connection  

Christmas will be perfect

There are two sides to every coin. What may seem like heaven to you, can be purgatory to someone else. It depends on the viewpoint you choose.

This is especially true at this time of year. 

Depending on your perspective, spending time with friends and family may be wonderful or wearying, or maybe a combination of both.

Being on your own can be lovely or lonely.

All the extra money you seem to be spending can be freeing or frightening.

I’d like to share some advice to help you navigate not just this time of year, but any sort of holiday, especially when family is involved.

Release your expectations for specific outcomes.

Envision the perfect Christmas or other family gathering. Now, take those expectations, put them in a corner of your mind, and forget about them.

Thinking your day needs to look a certain way is a recipe for disappointment. 

It’s OK to have a rough schedule in your mind, but don’t spend time thinking about how much everyone will love the day and how they will react to the beautiful presents you have chosen for them. 

You don’t have to be a modern version of the Waltons to have a great Christmas.

Let the day look whatever way it wants to look. There may be grumpy adults and overly excited children, but that doesn’t have to make the day any less magical. 

Being attached to outcome makes it harder to live in the moment without disappointment. If you make a lovely dinner and hardly anyone eats it because they are too tired or aren’t feeling well, be grateful that you have leftovers for Boxing Day. 

Relive the positive moments and release the negative ones.

Accept that miscommunication is common. Clarify before you take offence.

Communication is a tricky business. Between the speaker and the listener, there are lots of opportunities for misunderstanding. 

Many people process their thoughts out loud or speak without considering that there is more than one way to interpret their words. Remember this and give people the benefit of the doubt.

If what you think has been said seems unfair, unkind, or outrageous, take a breath and then ask for clarification. Don’t assume that they meant what you thought they said. 

If the look on another person’s face suggests they have taken offence to something you said, assume that your words were not interpreted the way you intended — unless, of course, you were intending to offend. 

Clarify without waiting for things to escalate.

Reach out for help if you need it.

This can be a difficult time for many people. Never overlook the impact that your feelings have on your life.

If you feel overwhelmed by the amount you need to do, ask for assistance. You are not the only person who can stuff a turkey or wrap presents. They may not do it just the way you would, but that’s OK.

If necessary, reread tip No. 1.

If you find yourself feeling depressed, anxious, or lonely seek counselling, call a helpline, or find a friend to spend time with.

Don’t stop yourself because you don’t want to bring someone else down. Allow them the opportunity to bring you up.

Live in the moment, not in the past.

It is easy to get caught up in family history. What starts as a fun stroll down memory lane, can turn into a nightmare. Be conscious and tread lightly.

Don’t relive the past or bring up anger you have been nursing for days or decades. Instead put your energy into enjoying and being grateful for what you have now.

You are all different people today than you were yesterday.

Be kind to yourself. 

Your mental and physical wellbeing is important. Don’t rely on other people to supply your sanity. Find time to take care of yourself. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed by everything that is still on your to-do list, take a few minutes to do something for yourself. Take a walk, read a book, build a snowman with your children, or enjoy a quiet cup of tea. 

This may seem counterintuitive, but your renewed energy will help you get things done more efficiently.

If you still feel overwhelmed, take another look at your list. Do you really need to do everything on it?

If you don’t get the presents wrapped as perfectly as you wanted, or you buy dessert rather than making it, will that really ruin the day? 

Doing less and feeling more relaxed and festive is far better than manically trying to do everything and ending up exhausted and probably grouchy. 

Try to see life as happening for you, not to you. Be grateful for both the blessings and the learning opportunities.

Don’t let yourself fall into the role of a victim. You always have choices in how you react to or perceive what is happening.

Enjoy your holiday, regardless of what it looks like. Trust that it will be perfect for you, regardless of how it unfolds.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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