As I’ve gotten older and had my own kids, I’ve started to notice what an anxiety-laden mess the holidays can become.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Scrooge. I love this time of year. I often break into “It’s the MOST! Wonderrrrrfullll Timmmme of the yearrrrrr” without any notice, in the most awkward, inopportune times.
Ask my wife. Ask her how many times I use the phrase Holiday Splendor.
Yet, I’ve grown increasingly intolerant of all the BS social pressure and mindless consumerism. It may feel like it sometimes, but no one is making you line up the day after Halloween for door-buster sales.
When you live an abundant life, and constantly express gratitude for all you have, the idea of trampling another human for a cheap flat screen feels pretty ridiculous. Put your energy toward gathering up the people you love the most, and creating new and inspired memories.
Give up on trying to recreate that epic Christmas from when you were a kid. What’s possible this year has the potential to kick its ass.
Here are some simple tweaks
you can make TODAY to create
a better holiday season for you,
and your family.
1. Upgrade your stale, old Christmas Muzak. This is #1 for a reason. Elevate the vibe on your entire holiday experience with tunes that kick you in the happy pants. Your home doesn’t need to feel like an over-crowded Crate & Barrel.
As an insider tip, I’m highly recommending two of my holiday cornerstones. You will thank me later. These two yuletide gems stay on continuous repeat from 12/1 – 12/31:
Ultimate Christmas Cocktails. 3 CDs of the hippest, lounge-lizard soundtrack to every memory you’ll create this season. It spins on a dime from Brady Bunch go-go boots, to Dean Martin crooning over Leslie organs and Cha-Cha-CHA.
Whenever I put this on (and I never take it off) I sell copies to whoever drops by.
Our kids have gotten used to me lip-syncing, or singing the entire collection in full voice.
Brian Setzer Orchestra’s – Christmas Extravaganza. Such a phenomenal performance, with sexy retro energy. This reminds me that Christmas is supposed to be cool. He mashes-up Stray Cat Strut with the theme from The Grinch, and ties it all together with masterful, badass guitar licks. Don’t get me started on his back-up singers, or their outfits. Swoon.
2. Forgive the sins of Christmas past. If you’re going to gather the family together, go in expecting only the best. If the holidays remind you of something painful, do everything in your power to make December *not* feel like the holidays of your past. Shake it up. Go to different places. Eat different food. Go kick it with someone else’s crazy family. It’s only 1 Christmas. They’ll forgive you. Eventually.
3. Cut your booze and/or sugar in half. And maybe you don’t need that bottomless coffee cup. This is honestly really hard for me on the sugar tip. Nobody’s making you polish off that half pound of candy-cane crumble toffee. It may even be there tomorrow. (If you hoard it, and dole it our sparingly). Stay aware of your bodily fuel. You shouldn’t need to be plastered, over-caffeinated, or jacked up on sugar to deal with your family.
4. Volunteer, or be of more service than you were last year. Who can you help just by showing up, or dropping something off? How can you spend less time at home thinking about your next meal?
5. If you truly need any gifts, ask for experiences versus more stuff. Remind your people that you won’t feel slighted if you don’t get anything. If they insist, ask for a contribution toward a memorable experience. Skydiving Fund. Jamaica Nest Egg. Your favorite Juice Bar, or coffee shop… You already buy yourself enough useless crap all year long. BecomingMinimalist is a phenomenal resource for enjoying people (not things) a little more deeply.
6. Keep your space as clean and organized as possible. Clear space as you go, always preparing for the next wave of visitors bearing gifts.
7. Bust out the old VHS tapes. Show your kids your kickass mullet circa December 1986. One year my brother & I asked for 3 cassettes: Scorpions, Twisted Sister, and Quiet Riot. Our Dad must’ve been appalled by the cover art, because we unwrapped Pointer Sisters & Culture Club.
8. No turtlenecks. Non-negotiable. I will flip that tray of Marty The Moose Egg Nog onto that tacky-ass turtleneck. How dare you try to ruin my holidays?
9. Encourage your kids to donate more than what Santa’s bringing. Remind them they can only have fun and play if there is s-p-a-c-e to have fun and play in. Reuse any wrapping paper and gift bags that you can. There’s no prize for filling an entire drop dumpster with your holiday byproducts.
10. If you’re going to send Christmas Cards, please, make them memorable. Make me hear you giggle as you were stuffing the envelopes. If sending a signed Corporate Card is more your style, please save the paper and drop an e-card.
Anything else that has worked well for you?
I’m open to all ideas in making this THE best Christmas on record.