With the holiday season in full swing, that means we are all indulging in a few extra cookies, attending ugly sweater parties and jamming out to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You”. It is a joyous time of year for sure in which we are all perfect angels who spread nothing but cheer. <Insert sarcastic emoji here>
While the holidays do truly inspire us to be kind, decent humans, it also can bring out the worst in us. It is not possible to go to a mall right not without either fighting for a parking spot or swearing up a storm. If you have ever had the honor of flying this time of year, you will see the worst specimens imaginable in full force. You know the ones. They bum rush you to get on the plane. They smack you with their bags as they board. They put their laptops and jackets in the overhead leaving you no room to stow your efficiently packed tiny as tiny can be roller board (in which you have sacrificed wardrobe options to wear two pairs of leggings and 1 pair of jeans with the same 4 shirts for a week’s visit. Ok fine, this is me every Thanksgiving break, and yes I am bitter over it. I digress though).
In the interest of diffusing the holiday stress and staying kind, check out the following.
- There is no need to be an asshole, even if someone else is being one first. We know there are a lot of horrible drivers out there (especially in LA) but there is no need to join them. There is no need to run people down in malls because they aren’t walking fast enough. I know, a lot of them are texting and walking and it is SO ANNOYING, but regardless, use your manners. The lines will be outlandish (so accept it) and you may not get to that last pair of boots in time. It is ok. (If that last marble rye is taken by a sweet old lady, let her have it. #Seinfeld).
- Don’t assume that people who are not into the holidays are Scrooges. For some people, the holidays drudge up unpleasant associations or feelings of sadness. You never know what someone else is going through. Maybe they lost a loved one or are going through a financial hardship. Show them kindness and compassion rather than outrage that they do not want to partake in the office potluck.
- Be extra kind to others. This time of year, we are inspired by the holiday spirit. We leave a little extra when we tip our servers. We bond more with our teams at work. We donate toys to children in need. We serve food to the homeless. We send children to sing cute and endearing songs to the elderly in nursing homes. These are all lovely and remind us of how great humanity can be, but why do we tend to do this only during the holidays? There are just as many people in need in August and February as there are in December.
- Gifts do not need to be extravagant. I used to ask for things like jewelry, designer clothes and fancy vacations (for the record, i never got them). These days, I am delighted by things that keep on giving, like the abdominal mat I received through a Secret Santa. I rather work on getting great abs than sport a stupidly expensive sweater. Try getting people practical things that may not get themselves but once they have them, they can’t imagine life without them. (Note, gentleman, by practical, I do not mean get your girlfriend jumper cables). Not that I am trying to sway anyone but…a CrossFit fundies membership for a newbie would be a great present. Just sayin’.
- Gifts do not need to be tangible. I know, we all love the suspense and excitement of unwrapping presents but there are so many other things that are just as thoughtful that we can give. Make a friend date to workout. Take your sister ice skating. Take your mom to the movies. We do not always need to break the bank to tell someone we care. Give experiences instead.
I truly love this time of year. I love those few extra days off from work. I love being able to unwind. I love the excuse holidays bring to get together and reconnect with friends and family. I love being able to watch Elf on television at any given time. I love the spirit that it can invoke in all of us. I do not love the negativity though that it can also invoke. So please please please. Go forth and follow these 5 really easy, basic things and I promise that you will spread the essence of holiday cheer.