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SOS for Shopping Madness

Health and Wellness author Cheryl Gordon offers a saner approach to handling the holidays
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Tis the season for excess. And nowhere does our culture’s obsession with competition become more apparent than with gift giving and holiday partying.

Here’s a quick few questions that may help you identify if you have fallen victim to this madness:

  1. Will you starve if you do not bake 3,000 dozen cookies?

  2. In 20 years, will your children be hampered in their careers because they did not get every item on their Santa list?

  3. Has heading to the gym or dieting in January ever erased the damage of the holidays?

  4. If your tree is decorated in a completely new colour, will this be the year that your father-in-law will finally not drink to excess and tell that racist joke?

This is a bit “tongue-in-cheek” but offers a chance to reflect on your choices vis a vis your core values. When we make lifestyle decisions that do not reflect who we are at heart, we create a sense of unease. Psychologists call is “cognitive dissonance.” It adds to our chronic stress levels.

The final realization that might curtail a great deal of your preparation work is this…

Has anyone ever truly thanked you for all you do? When my boys were little, I sacrificed many hours of snuggle time to bake every kind of festive cookie imaginable. They were all frozen in individual containers for weeks in advance. Then one day, someone brought over holiday Oreos. They went crazy for them! And I subsequently found my carefully wrapped goodie box thrown in my relative’s garbage, almost unopened. Clearly, the world would still spin quite happily without all that baking.

What makes holiday time special if it’s not the designer decorations, excessive treats or generous presents? Seriously, ask yourself. What makes this season meaningful for you?

Your family and friends love you. They want you to be happy. It’s your job to let them know how to support you along that path. If you love baking (which I do), bake cookies you love. If you detest decorating (which I do), let most of it go.

The number one secret to having a happy holiday season…. Be authentic and share from your heart.

But what if you don’t get that spectacular present you’ve been hinting about? What if you don’t give that perfect gift? As you reflect on the hidden agenda or messages of gift giving, you may decide that material possessions are not the truest way to express feelings. And if the holidays provide an excuse to let loose at parties, what in your regular life are you trying to obliterate?

The proofreader in my office comments that this article is pretty heavy stuff. And I guess I am asking my readers to leave their Hallmark Christmas movies for deep thinking. But if you’re still with me and are seeking ways to create more meaning at this holiday and throughout the year, please consider carving out some time with a really fabulous individual from whom you can learn so much …. YOU!

Instead of shopping (or baking or decorating, etc.) tonight, try 20 minutes to watch this video. It will lead you through some breathing and a relaxation practice that will help you sleep more soundly and perform better tomorrow.

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