“I hate the holidays!”

It absolutely hurt my heart to hear a man say this to me not too long ago. The holidays were around the corner and every year it became a fight with his wife on where they would go, who they would see, what they were going to do and other expectations.

Someone in the family was going to get their feelings hurt. And so, they would take it out on each other.

Disappointment. Hurt feelings. Fights.

Holiday hopes and realities can seem to be utterly opposed to each other. Our general expectations for the holiday season are excitement, a time of peace and celebration. It’s a time to enjoy food, friends and family and maybe take some much needed vacation.

However, this part of the year can also be a time of highs and lows. Many people are filled with mixed emotions, and so the season can be a source of stress, and even depression.

 “When we think about the holidays, we dwell on the past and what went wrong,

or we romanticize it and make it impossible to re-create.”

The holiday realities are many and varied:

  • The demands are great-there is too much to do, too little time and way too many expectations.
  • Family issues can be overwhelming-the pressures of expectations to spend time with family who we may have strained relationships with, or having to choose who to see and who will be missed.
  • The holidays can be emotional-a remembrance of lost loved ones causing loneliness or missing other family members and friends who are far away.

For many, there are many indulgences available during the holidays, like:

Eat, Drink, Have Fun, & Shop Till You Drop

Because these are actions that are almost expected during the last two months of every year, there can be temptations and impulsiveness leading to unhealthy outcomes. So you end up over spent, exhausted and unhealthy. What a hard place to start the New Year!

By putting some practical actions into place, we can minimize the overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out feelings that often accompany the holidays. The holidays might just become more enjoyable and peaceful than we believe they ever could be.

 Practical Actions!

  • Set priorities!

First, lower your expectations regarding how much you can accomplish and who you think you must please.

  • Overestimate, rather than underestimate!

It always takes more time than you think to run errands, shop, cook, and generally make yourself available for events-even ones you want and love to attend.

  • Definitely, plan a budget!

The opportunities to overspend and dig a deep financial hole are endless during the holidays. Managing your money will help you think through your motivation for spending and to give more meaningful gifts.

Finally, doing this will assist you in doing more of what you want in order to enjoy friends, family and events. Get the right amount of sleep, and don’t forget to exercise and eat well in between those parties.

Taking the above actions can help with the practical aspects of the holidays-time, money and demand pressures. But what should the focus of the holidays be then? How do we handle the expectations, emotions, relationships and past memories that may be difficult to deal with and to get through during this season?

Focus on the Truths of God!

You can be certain God wants to

do something in your life this holiday season!

Ecclesiastes tells us that enjoying life and finding satisfaction is a gift from God. It does not come from other sources.  By setting our mind on things that are meaningful and taking action on the things that last. We can attempt to mend past hurts by reconciling and forgiving others. We can take our cares and concerns to God, and let Him deal with those things.

This holiday season we can choose to do something different and take practical action. We can also focus on the things that will bring us real joy and real satisfaction.