Family Affairs: Be Filled to the Brim With Holiday Cheer

Family Affairs
Be Filled to the Brim With Holiday Cheer

Some families can count on experiencing a bruhaha during the holidays; others can count on hearing the news reports that around town more than the halls were "decked" between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. What could move "Things will be different this year" toward reality?
* Could you pare down the stress by starting the shopping, cleaning, decorating, and cooking a few days earlier? For some family members, this could mean actually helping with the shopping, cleaning, decorating, and cooking for once. If they don't offer to help you, ask for the help you need--without trying to send them on a guilt trip. Give them a gift catalog, a new broom or shovel, or choices of how to help-and some heartfelt gratitude.
* Why not just go to bed when you're tired? A little more shut-eye could actually put some lift to the corners of your lips and those of someone else. You can choose to leave the baggy eyes and the spirit of martyrdom, the mean spirit and the grouchiness to the Grinch. Your negative response to negative people and situations most likely will decrease after a few good nights of sleep.
* Give. You have just what somebody needs. Time. Strength. Smiles. Expertise. Type "volunteer" into your search engine. Or talk with the people behind the desk at the local library or a service organization. Or step into the office of any church of any denomination and say, "Use me."
* Step back. Perhaps your gifts have been fuel for feelings of inadequacy--or just plain jealously. Whichever, whatever-refine your generosity. Do you need to give less of things and more of yourself or less of yourself and something more concrete. Possibly toning down your presentation is the key to peace.
* Try a different form of holiday "cheer." If a certain environment or holiday ritual brings out the worst in you or them, change the scene. Check the newspapers, the community bulletin boards, the Internet, the Yellow Pages of your phone book to see what's out there that you hadn't heard about before. Broaden your horizons, or trim your sails. Choose how you will move yourself to a new experience that will not just eliminate him, her, them from your picture, but improve your outlook and attitude about life.
* Apologize. Or stop apologizing.
* Stop talking. Eldridge Cleaver may be right, "Too much agreement kills a chat."
* Speak up. Tell what you know, feel, think-carefully and at an appropriate time.
* Move forward. There is a lot of holiday cheer out there to be had. Let your cup overflow.

Faith Johnson Crumbly is a writer and motivational speaker for Essential Pieces Communication Strategies, essentialpieces@gmail.com.