Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Holiday Traditions Can Strengthen Your Family Ties

Holiday TraditionsHave you heard this one? During a discussion of holiday traditions, the teenager complains, “We don’t have any traditions. We just do the same old things every year!” While we smile at the kid’s perception, we recognize the value of giving the family a sense of continuity that ties them together through the years.

I am reminded of a holiday a couple of years ago. The host of the family gathering that year was dropping hints that they planned a surprise “non-traditional” dinner, and the person most distraught about the prospect was a 17 year old boy! Just when you feel as though a child wants nothing to do with the “old-fashioned ways” it becomes apparent that it actually matters to them – a lot!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

What Do You Want for Christmas?

ChristmasI wonder sometimes if there is any other place in the world that celebrates Christmas as materially as we do in the US. So, I decided to go to the internet to check out some traditions around the world. (It is a fun and interesting search, and you should try it.)

Some of the interesting tidbits of information I read include:

In Nigeria, well-to-do people visit poorer towns and bring gifts. It is a season for considering those less fortunate.

In Japan, Christmas evolved from being outlawed to being westernized. Back in the 1970’s there was a very successful advertising campaign, and to this day people have to make their reservations months in advance to eat at KFC on Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Making Christmas Merry

Merry ChristmasHolidays have a way of magnifying everything – both negative and positive. Whatever is happy, beautiful and fun seems even more prominent when Christmas lights are twinkling and pretty packages are sitting under the tree just waiting to delight someone you love. But whatever is sad, ugly and painful can also be magnified because it doesn’t fit in to our idealized image of what Christmas should be like. As my friend, Dr. Randy Carlson of Intentional Living has often said, “Expectation minus reality equals disappointment.”

I am going out on a tinsel-covered limb and guessing that there is something about this Christmas you wish could be different. The good news is you don’t have to let your circumstances ruin your holidays. Studies have shown that circumstances only account for 10% of your happiness. That’s a surprisingly small number! But boosting your happiness quotient doesn’t just happen by itself. You must be intentional about how you THINK about your life and circumstances.

One exercise in overcoming circumstances and making Christmas merry is to maintain a Big Picture Mindset. Oftentimes it isn’t the big things that derail our happiness, but a hundred little things. Car trouble, a winter virus, failing to find the toy your child wants “more than anything” for Christmas, a fraudulent charge on your credit card, a fender bender. The list could go on forever, because life is full of those frustrating nuisances. If we keep our eyes on all the things that can – and do – go wrong, we will never be happy. But when we step back and put those things into perspective, they lose their grip on our attitudes. The Big Picture of your life probably also includes a lot of people (or even pets) who love you, having your basic needs (and many of