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The Holidays - A Joyful or Stressful Time?

As I look at my partially decorated mantel, I see the Christmas stockings hung this way and that. I start to wonder how to get them to all go the same way and lay flat. You know like all the Christmas pictures we see. On the mantel, I notice I still have some Christmas tree ornaments laying there that need to be put on the tree. I glance over to the tree which is all aglow with its beautiful lights and only 12 ornaments on it. I add finish decorating the tree to my list. Then it hits me, I just let the holiday stress take a hold.

Instead of stress, I could continue to focus on the holiday joy. My first thought as I looked at the mantel was, ‘those Christmas stocking are hung as uniquely as the personalities of the individuals they represent!’ I remember how much I have loved the bright glow of the Christmas tree as I sat in the living room all week, with all the Christmas boxes gathered around the room. I now comprehend how relived my husband has been that he could come home from a stressful day at work and enjoy the Christmas tree lights and I didn’t demand he help me finish the tree. I was just enjoying the lights and ignoring the mess around it. I had chosen joy and kept the stress out of our lives, for a few days. (I thought I was just being lazy.)

Is it really that simple? Is it really a matter of choosing joy? Is it just my attitude and perspective? Today we will finish decorating the tree and the rest of the house. Once the boxes are emptied and moved out of the living room, it will feel good. I will have joy tonight as we plan for our Christmas shopping tomorrow. I have learned that I can enjoy the preparation of the holiday season if I focus on one thing at a time. I will need to remind myself throughout the day to focus on decorating today, shopping tomorrow, and next weekend some holiday baking. When my mind starts to flip back and forth on all the tasks, then the stress takes hold. Focus for me, keeps stress away.

I now realize that means my Christmas cards will once again be late. My other helpful hint I have figured out, is to have one holiday tradition that is not as important as the others. That is the thing I do last. For me, it is our Christmas cards. So, my goal has been to put them in the mail by Christmas eve. You see, to me the timing of the arrival of my card is not worth the stress it causes me to try to do it when I need to decorate or shop! I choose Holiday Joy!

I hope you can find your Holiday Joy and keep it!


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