Thursday, December 17, 2015


When I think about the holidays I remember seeing them through the eyes of a child.  I recall the excitement and joy of Christmas as a young one looking up at the Christmas tree that seemed to go on forever with it’s sparkling lights and shiny ornaments, going sledding with my family and rushing inside with rosy cheeks for hot chocolate and cookies.  I remember the anticipation of Christmas morning and all the unexpected wonder it would bring.  I think back to that time in my life and everything seemed to come together seamlessly…the gifts magically appeared under the tree, the cookies wondrously appeared from the freezer to lovely Christmas trays.  I didn’t know or appreciate all the work and preparation that was going on behind the scenes to create those memories I love so much.  Now I am not saying Christmas as a child was perfect…oh no not at all..I also recall crazy family dynamics, fights and tension too.  However what I remember most about the holidays was happy memories. 

Now that I am grown with a family of my own, it’s only natural that I want to create a sense of wonder, excitement and joy in my own family.  

And yet as the holiday season rolls forward, sometimes it is difficult not to get swept away in searching for the perfect gift, stressing over money, spending hours making treats, and a “to do” list that begins to seam like it is a mile long monster that will never be completed.   

There have been times during the holidays when I have been so concerned with getting things done so we could have the "perfect Christmas" that I found myself distracted, stressed out and frustrated with the very people I wanted to feel those warm cuddly feelings towards.  

So how do we create the holiday season we so desperately desire and actually enjoy it? 

Before we can understand how to create the Christmas we desire, we first need an awareness of 4 holiday stealers that will creep up on our festivities and rob us of the joy we could have. When we are aware of these holiday stealers are we can spot them before they sneak into our festivities and stop them in their tracks so we can love the holidays. My husband described holiday state stealers best when he said if he could think of a holiday that would have everyone sad, grouchy and frustrated with each other, he would be sure to include massive doses of sugar, lack of sleep, busyness and overstimulation.  Sound familiar? So with all that stacked against us how do we create incredible memories? We identify the 4 holiday stealers and learn how we can manage them


Holiday state stealers are notorious for robbing us of our state of mind.  State of mind is our ability to perceive and experience our life. When we are in a good state of mind we have an attitude of "it will work out" even when things aren't going the way we want them to. When we have a poor state of mind everything is harder and our patience fuse is shorter.  There are many things that can affect state of mind such as sleep, nutrition and the language we are using. I learned about managing state of mind to create the life I want in the Master Your Power Within Event. The speaker Brandon Broadwater spent a day on how we can manage our state using Higher Law Principles. Although I don't have time in this post to go through everything he covered in a whole day, I will give you a piece of it that will help you today and throughout the holidays.



The first potential holiday state stealer is sugar. Ever notice how much sugar is floating around at Christmas time? I know there are a lot of opinions about sugar but I think we can all agree that sugar has an effect on our bodies and that too much of it probably isn't great for our health. If you doubt that sugar affects the body just watch a child's behavior 40 minutes after they have sugar. Now does this happen only with children? Um how you feel 40 minutes after having sugar. That's when the low kicks in and life does not seem quite as lovely. 


What is the next state stealer to be on the look out for that can rob us of Christmas magic?  Sleep...or rather lack of sleep to be specific.  I remember many Christmases waking up with overtired, heavy eyelids after staying up to the wee hours in the morning wrapping gifts and finding wide eyes filled with excitement and anticipation staring back at me.  My daughter Zoe had been awake for a long time just waiting for her overtired parents to roll out of bed and finally when she was tired of the wait she thought it best to do the sure fire "stand and stare" at us until we got up.  Seeing her there with full anticipation in her eyes, we could do nothing other than pour ourselves out of bed in hopes that Christmas magic would kick in and banish our overtired headaches.  I had prepared so much the night before in hopes for everything to be “perfect” that I missed what I wanted most.  I missed being present with my daughter during Christmas morning.  So what’s the answer?  How do we avoid the sleep snare this holiday season…we do all we can to get enough sleep and help our kids get enough sleep.  A rested family is a happy family.  


There is one last state stealing culprit that if we don’t deal with, it will tangle the joy of the holidays.  This is one trap that society seems to push for so hard this time of year.  It is one that guilts us into buying too many presents, and going to every possible holiday event we hear about.  It is one that can rob us of what we truly want during the holidays whether that is to remember the spiritual gifts that the Christmas season represents or be closer to the people we love.  So what I am talking about?  I’m talking about the impulse to overdo Christmas. Overdo Christmas…what do I mean?  I mean overshot, overbuy, over schedule, over eat, over stimulate.  I’m talking about rather than simplifying the season…stuffing the season with more.  What are the costs of experiencing the holidays in this way?  Stress, frustration, fear of finances and a difficulty truly enjoying the holidays.  


I don't know what it is about the holidays but we can often feel like everything needs to be perfect for it to be good. We search for the perfect gifts, we plan the perfect meal, we want the picture perfect family. However the reality is that it is never perfect! In fact we are never perfect! We aren't meant to be. Life is meant to be a little messy and it is okay. When we are stuck in thinking things need to be perfect, we miss the messy and beautiful wonder of the here and now. The moment when none of the kids are smiling in the Christmas photo and you look over at your partner and laugh at the crazy Christmas sweater you are wearing that your Aunt Greta gave you. 


Weeks before a party I was hosting I spent hours making Christmas treats, cleaning my house to perfection and buying gifts for everyone who was coming.  And by the time the party arrived…I was exhausted.  I rushed around making sure punch bowls were filled, treats were stacked and everything was cleaned.  

And I missed it.  

At one point I remember looking around and seeing all my friends and family having a great time talking with one another and I realized that I hadn’t really connected with anyone and that I just wanted everyone to leave because I was tired and wanted to go to bed.  Now was that the snuggly Christmas feeling I was going for when I was planning the party?  Heck no!  I wanted to be closer to the people I love the most, I wanted to feel that Christmas spirit enter my heart.  I missed it because I wanted things to be “perfect”.  I’m grateful for that memory because it has been a constant reminder for me to simplify the Christmas season so I can actually enjoy it.


Okay so now you are armed with knowledge about the holiday stealers that are lurking about trying to take away your holiday fun. Now that you are aware of the things that can take out your holiday cheer, you can make a decision about how you can manage them so that you can experience the full spirit of Christmas this holiday season. It will take some work though. Managing these holiday state stealers takes some planning and a willingness to break through old patters. To help you on this path, I encourage you to answer the following questions to come up with a plan that will work for you this holiday season. 
  1. What is one thing you can do to manage the sweet trap?  (Maybe it is making healthy holiday treats so you have options or maybe it is having treats before bedtime to avoid the sugar crash) 
  2. When can you commit to going to bed so you get enough sleep?
  3. What is one way you can simplify the holidays?
  4. How can you remind yourself that the holidays aren't supposed to be "perfect"?

I know that doing these things has made a makes a huge difference in helping us love the holidays again. I know that as find ways to avoid the holiday stealers and find more ways to be even more present and create a simplified holiday season, you will feel more peace, joy and happiness this Christmas. I wish you and your family all the love and happiness that your heart can hold this holiday season.  

Much love,

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