The Secret To Finding The Perfect Holiday Gift

The Secret To Finding The Perfect Holiday Gift

The holiday season brings with it many expectations – purchasing the perfect gift, decorating just so, cooking up a grand meal, making sure everyone is happy during a family gathering, baking hundreds of cookies, attending social events, staying on track with healthy eating and exercise, prepping the guest room for incoming visitors, and making sure your elf on the shelf has a happy guest house for the month of December!  Whew!! But taking inventory of your holiday to-do’s and reflecting on your priorities will allow you to see how you can make change to increase your overall happiness and joy this holiday season.

Especially when it comes to pleasing others by meeting their expectations, one can experience a great deal of grief and anxiety. I’ve learned through the years that it’s healthy to let people experience their own emotions, create their own happiness, and learn from their personal journey rather than try to control how things take place. The truth is that the holiday season can be a difficult time of year for many people. Although our society’s expectation for the holidays is that everyone will be happy and full of cheer, it is not always the case. The greatest gift you could provide someone is to offer them unconditional love: provide hugs, give space when needed, be patient and kind, communicate, tell them you love them and want them to be happy and that you’ll respectfully give them the space they need.

Healthy Holidays Exercise:

Complete this exercise to take inventory of your holiday to-do’s and see how you can make change to increase your overall happiness and joy this holiday season.

  1. Create Four Columns on a sheet of paper.
  2. In column 1, list out all the things you’re expected to do this holiday season (It doesn’t matter if it’s your own expectation or that of another person). Some examples might be baking Christmas cookies, attending a particular gathering, putting up Christmas lights, or buying a gift for a particularly difficult family member.
  3. In column 2, write out the reason for carrying out each item (is it family tradition, will someone make you feel guilty if you don’t do it, is it a necessary chore, are you trying to please another person, or is it another reason)
  4. In column 3, rate the level of stress associated with this task (0 = no stress and 10 = incredibly stressful).
  5. In column 4, identify one thing you can do to alleviate stress for the specific task.  (tone down the level of the task, plan to accomplish it earlier in the season so you’re not under a tight timeframe, delegate the task to another person, or maybe even delete it from the list all together).

This exercise can be about simple physical tasks that need to be accomplished, as well as deeper personal expectations.

Happiness is something that resides in each of us and in our own special way we find it and exude it in this life. As a result, others experience it too.  While we cannot control the emotions/actions of others, we can be in control of our own choices.  Find gratitude in all things and happiness will find you.

Wishing you joy and health as we enter this holiday season!

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