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The holidays are upon us! Hooray! The snow! The food! The Spirit of Giving!
Can you believe that for some people they can be synonymous with stress, weight gain and over draught?
Oh, how very Eeyore of some people, I know.
Fortunately, there are a few ways of ensuring the season retains its spirit.
Avoid strife! If there is something about Christmas you can’t possibly bear: change it! It might seem obvious when you see it written down, but have a close look at everything you do and pare it down to things you enjoy (whisky, champagne and mulled wine) vs. things you hate (shopping, in-laws and brussel sprouts). People who suffer in the name of tradition are like … totally uncool. (I’m on my way to a Pulitzer with these beautifully crafted sentences, mark my words!) It might be time to start some new traditions, like the takeaway curry and mulled wine dinner special. It’s likely God won’t mind, he invented curry, after all.
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Gratitude: be thankful.
1. Be thankful for the food … remember that you’re EATING. It’s quite possible that something died to be on your plate so embrace that gift!
2. Be thankful for presents: someone spent time and money on you. Perhaps they shouldn’t have (oh, thank you for the after-shave, can I put it on my beard?), but they did, which is better than if they didn’t.
3. Be grateful for the sounds, as somebody’s agent made them release a Christmas album with all the tunes you already have on your iPod but with a different voice so it sounds like new music, but you can still sing along!
4. Be grateful for the weather because it’s snowing AND you don’t have to go to work! Be grateful for the time you spend with people you love.
5. Stop moaning about the commercial side, the queues, the crowds and the way people misspell your name on Christmas Greetings. Share your gratitude: make sure you thank everyone for the presents they gave you and make sure your children do likewise. If you were sent a card and didn’t reciprocate, then you can always write an email to show you appreciated it. Keep the cycle going.
6. If you find people are getting out of control with their sense of entitlement, then shift things down a notch. Either fix a budget of $10 per present or make them yourselves. Try it, even if for one year. Alternatively, you can make a point of donating one present (or more) to those in need. Good rule to live by anyway.
7. Sing and eat Clementines. It doesn’t matter whether you are working the night shift in a gas station alone on Christmas eve (boohoo), the smell of a freshly peeled clementine will rouse the holiday spirit in almost anybody.
8. Not part of the Christian faith? No need to convert, but you’re very welcome to get on the celebratory bandwagon by creating your own annual traditions—we don’t own the turkey industry. As long as you are respectful of the ‘reason for the season’, then I’m willing to bet you will be welcome at any celebration. In my book anyway.