Holiday Happiness
(Early Planning)

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To be read ideally around mid-to-late October

The holiday season is a wonderful time of year. 

It can also be very difficult and stressful.

There are many expectations and obligations to meet, parties to attend, and gifts to buy (which means more expenses). Then there’s all the eating and drinking, and for some, the holidays means traveling as well.

The best way, therefore, to create true holiday happiness is to plan early.

The first thing to do to begin planning for the holiday season is to look at the "big picture" and put things in proper perspective. That’s an essential component of the process since the details of the season can be “overwhelming” - if overwhelm is part of your vocabulary (see transformational vocabulary for a great way to reduce stress and anxiety during the holidays - and anytime of the year).

Next, it’s important to assess our individual needs, desires, and influences as related to creating the best holiday season possible. To do that, we’ll start with two basic questions everyone should answer as we approach this time of year:

  1. What makes the holidays stressful, difficult, and/or “unhappy”?
  2. What do I – or could I – love about the holidays?

If you answer these two questions honestly for yourself, you will have a great start to making this holiday season happier and more joyous. That’s because, with the answers to these two questions, we can better understand the specific issues which represent pain and pleasure for us during the holiday season and then more easily create a plan to address them.

So, spend a few minutes right now answering those two questions. Take whatever time you need. Be specific. Then come back and finish reading with the answers in hand.

OK, you’ve answered the questions, right? If not, don’t go on until you do.

The most common answers I’ve gotten to those two questions are:
Question #1 (What makes the holidays stressful, difficult, and/or “unhappy”?):

  • Too many expectations and obligations
  • It’s gotten too commercial
  • The true meaning has been lost
  • It's too expensive
  • There are too many people to please
  • The shopping malls and stores get too crazy
  • There are too many parties to attend
  • I eat too much
  • I gain weight
  • I drink too much
  • I’m alone
  • I work during the holidays
  • My[family member, friend, spouse] is gone and I miss them even more

Question #2 (What do I – or could I – love about the holidays?):

  • The opportunity to connect with friends and family
  • The chance to brighten people’s life by giving
  • Remembering the meaning of the season
  • Connection with family and friends
  • Great memories from childhood
  • The food (turkey and stuffing, pies, etc.)
  • The shopping
  • The parties
  • Getting some great gifts
  • Going to church, the synagogue, etc.
  • Christmas carols
  • Time off from work
  • The weather at this time of year
  • The chance to reflect on what life is all about
  • The holiday lights

Did you come up with some others?

Was your “negative” list (the answers to the first question) longer than the “positive” list (the answers to the second question)? Or was the positive list longer?

Whichever it is, over the next few weeks it’s important to think about these answers – and use them to create a “Holiday Happiness Plan” for yourself (see below) which expands the positives and minimizes the negatives.

For now, just notice some of the feelings and emotions you experience as we get closer to the end of the year.  When you notice how you feel in response to the various issues you wrote down as answers to those two questions, it may even make you realize how your negative emotional responses to the crowds, the parties, and all the other “frustrations” associated with the holidays may be overblown. If you're guilty of this, again, make sure to use transformational vocabulary as one of your Holiday Happiness tools.

Also, one of the common issues for just about everyone during the holidays is getting everything done and dealing with all the expectations.

So, over the next few weeks, create your “Holiday Happiness Plan”. I’ve designed a “Holiday Happiness Planner” – a template, if you will – to help you with that plan and guide you through the next couple of months more smoothly.

Once you have the plan prepared, you can start implementing the details addressed in your plan to get a bit more specific about what to do to ease the stress of the holidays – emotionally, financially, and healthfully.

The Holiday Happiness Series...

Check out my "Holiday Happiness Series", which starts in late October every year and goes through the New Year.  It will help ease the stress of the holiday season and create the most joyful, fulfilling, healthy holiday ever. 

Click here in November to continue with the series.

Click here to open up a copy of my “Holiday Happiness Planner” template to get started with the process. It’s pretty much self-explanatory, so start building the plan using the template – and begin implementing any of the issues which arise within the next few weeks as the season really gets going. 

Or, for an even better planning tool, check out...

Holiday Planner

While this is called the “Christmas” Holiday Planner, it can really be used for any holiday planning to make your holiday season the best planned, most relaxed, most enjoyable ever!

It’s packed with over 80 pages of easy to use tools that cover holiday planning, shopping, gift selection, decorating, invitations, meal planning, and much more!

Click here to check it out.

BeHappy! my friends


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