I love the Holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s the extra time to spend with family. Yet, have you ever noticed that so many people are extra moody during this time of year? I find it with myself too.
We build up expectations for parties, time spent with relatives, presents given and received. More often than not the actual outcome is short of our expectations. The exception is the good food or should I say GREAT food that causes us to gain five pounds just looking at it.
My challenge is managing the expectations so that I can enjoy the season and not become depressed because of falling short of my expectations. For instance, the expectation when you find the perfect gift for someone. You just KNOW that they are going to LOVE it. (The expectation.) Tempering the expectation would mean saying to myself, “I know that with the chaos of the day I probably won’t see the excitement that I would if the gift were given at any other time.”
When my mother was alive, I always received actual gifts from my parents. In fact, my mother and I would go shopping together and I would help buy the gifts that my siblings and I received. I always had to “act surprised.” Being the only single child with no children of my own, there were always “Christmas Eve” gifts that my mother bought for me. (Yeah, I was usually with her when she bought those too.) It was never an “even” situation. Much more was spent on siblings’ families than on the single daughter. But that is life, isn’t it? My expectation has changed from expecting to receive a gift to expecting to receive a check. In a demented sort of way, nothing has changed……I’m still choosing out the gift myself. I try to always get a photo of what I buy and send a copy to dad with a note like, “Thank-you. This is what you bought me for Christmas.”
The most difficult challenge of all because of the commercialism is remembering that “JESUS is the reason for the season.” The other way of saying it is “Don’t forget the Christ in Christmas!” When we keep that focus the rest of the expectations are put into perspective.