Dari’s Difference

Holiday Thoughts
Ahhhhh, they’re here again – the holidays. The time of year that elicits a dichotomy of emotion in all of us adults, especially us women. The simple joy of the holidays we felt when we were children bubbles up, but then it is quickly diminished by the overwhelming to-do list we make this time of year.

Stop and enjoy the lights as they twinkle

We pull out the decorations, start making out menus and scour the newspaper and online ads for the best deals on gifts, while wondering which parties we will attend and if we are going to travel anywhere. The children start asking when they can go tell Santa what they want this year. The adult children want to know what the details are before Thanksgiving so they can make their plans. The neighbors, who started decorating before Halloween, add more lights and blow up figures on a daily basis. All of this extra influx of activity, questions, and information puts us on edge. We start to lose patience more easily, sleep less and worry more.

Gone is the happy anticipation we experienced when we were younger. The way we would hum along when the Christmas carols played in a store. The sense of wonder we experienced as the lights twinkled in our eyes. The silliness, and the mess we would make while baking Christmas cookies.

As we count down the days, whether with dread or excitement, let’s pause to reflect on a fun activity we used to do while in grade school. I remember how almost every year the teacher would hand us a sheet of paper with a word written vertically down the side of the paper. The word would have to do with the holidays – it may be Christmas, or Santa Clause or Snowman, etc.

As I feel the stress levels mount within myself, let’s pause and reflect on some advice we can gain from the H-O-L-I-D-A-Y.
H– Heart – Have a heart this time of year. Be a little more patient when driving or standing in line as you do not know what the other person is going through at any given time. They could have a loved one that is very sick, a wayward child or maybe they lost their job recently.
O– Opportunity – Use this season to look for ways to reach out to others. It could be in a small donation you are asked to give, a food drive at your local church or volunteering to serve a meal for a local homeless organization.
L– Life – Take time to live it. Stop and enjoy the lights as they twinkle, pause and take in the delightful laughter of your children as they watch Christmas movies. Inhale an extra time as the cookies bake in the oven. Life is so short and one day your children will be grown and you won’t have any little ones to enjoy the days leading up to the holiday season with you.
I– Inspiration – Be inspired as you inspire. Take the time to tell someone what they mean to you. Allow yourself to be encouraged by the Christmas music, to cry at a cheesy Christmas movie, and relish the sights and sounds leading up to the big day.
D– Delegate – Let the children do more. Have them wrap gifts (they don’t have to be perfect), decorate the house (it doesn’t have to look like a magazine cover) and help cook (it’s okay if they drop flour on the floor). They will love the opportunity to help with the preparations of such a wonderful season.
A– Authenticity- Be true to who you are – if you don’t want to send Christmas cards – don’t! If you want to go caroling around the neighborhood – Do! Choose those traditions that mean something to YOU. It doesn’t matter if you have “always done that.” Decide which traditions really mean something to you and your family and make the effort to do them.
Y– Yield – Be sure you yield to any circumstances beyond your control. The cookies might get burnt, the lights may go out on the tree, someone may get sick, you may lose your job, or be unable to travel to see family. Just remember to yield to those things and focus on those things that ARE going right this season instead of the challenges that you may experience this year.

My Go M.A.D. (Go Make a Difference) challenge – is to pick one letter from above and come up with your OWN advice or activity for that letter and go enjoy it with your family!
Happy Holidays to each of you. May you have a most blessed and wonderful season this month!

Dari Mullins
Written by Dari Mullins