Holiday Let Down..

Remember when you were little and all you could think about from the time the Thanksgiving turkey was cleared from the table was your delightful December holiday (and there are quite a few)?  You were so excited and could barely contain yourself. All you thought about were the wonderful and amazing gifts you would get.  You would dream and fantasize and wish for weeks.  You would scour the catalogs that were overflowing from your mailbox and would actually look forward to the commercials during your afternoon cartoons.

And then…your holiday eve would be upon you!  You could barely sleep.  You could barely eat.  All you could think about was how the next day you would get to open your presents.  And you were ELATED.

Then the hour was finally upon you and then it was present time!  And you opened and unwrapped, wide eyed with joy.  And all of this lasted for mere moments in time. 

And then it was over.  And then there was nothing left.  No more boxes.  No more wrapping paper.  And all you had were some new toys or books or, even worse, clothes.  And you were disappointed.

It is very common to experience this holiday let down as a kid, but also as an adult.  Once we are grown, we often spend so much time preparing the food and gifts and celebrations for the holiday season.  And while we run around like crazy people trying to keep the holiday magic alive, it often makes us exhausted and burns us out. 

And then it’s over.  And then there’s nothing left.  No more boxes.  No more wrapping paper.  And you are oddly disappointed.

In our society, we put so much pressure and expectation on the holidays.  And it’s totally, and I mean totally unrealistic.  We expect grown ups to keep some theoretical magic going.  The holidays are full of instant gratification and intermittent reinforcement, and when these two principles are put together, the effect is overwhelmingly powerful.  And when these two principles are put together, the outcomes are often terribly disappointing.

So what happens if instead of relying on the theoretical instant gratification that the holidays allude to, we spend the holiday season practicing love and gratitude.  What happens if we focus on the people we love instead of the presents and food and wrapping?  And then, what if we keep THAT spirit going all year? 

I don’t know about you, but that sounds way better than having to wait for December to feel love and joy.  And believe it or not, you, yes YOU deserve to feel this type of magic ALL year long.