This year it will be different. Really. Retailers are bracing for a Christmas shopping season only slightly better than last year’s, due to the ongoing economic recovery and consumers’ trend toward saving money and avoiding credit card debt. These indicators point to a different tone this year, perhaps one where Americans will seek the comforts of the season without the material extravagance that characterized past Christmases.
Rather than dwelling on what our economic condition will deprive us of this year, we can ponder the opportunity it gives us to recreate our Christmas observance. For years I’ve heard friends and family (and me!) complain about the craziness of the season, how hectic and packed our days are, and how little time and energy we have to appreciate our loved ones. We commiserate, but do little to change. Perhaps the lack of disposable dollars will set the boundary we need to focus our time and efforts on events, people and things that are truly meaningful to us.
This year can be different. Let’s take this opportunity to envision and create a great holiday season. Let’s start by getting a clear picture of what the ideal Christmas season is. This vision will be different for everyone, because it is a wonderful amalgamation of warm memories and joyful anticipation unique to each of us. Here’s one way to get started.
Music is a wonderful source of inspiration, so pull out some of your favorite holiday music. If you’re not ready to open that floodgate just yet, listen to something soft and contemplative. As a compromise, I listen to my Hidden Christmas Tracks. Take a few deep breaths and consider these questions:
The highest vision for my Christmas season is….
What must I become to empower this vision?
What must be released?
What must I embrace to empower this vision?
Anything else I need to know to empower this vision?
(This is a simple visioning process that can be applied to any concern or idea in your life. My thanks to Michael Gott for this process.)
What’s important in this case is to allow meaningful experiences from past Christmases to come to mind, along with your hopes for this year’s observance. Most likely, there are things you’ve always wanted to do during the holidays “if I had more time!” Try not to edit any idea as too outrageous or difficult to achieve. Give yourself permission to dream. Jot all these thoughts down and complete the first statement on the list. Then, reflect on the answers to the next four questions. Note how each focuses on the internal transformation necessary to move you from commiseration to empowerment in creating a great Christmas for those you love, and yourself.
This year, it will be different!
Coming up: Create and Prioritize your Holiday To-Do List