Christmas: How Is It Supposed to Be?

Holidays Home and Family



Dr. Jenn Berman is a psychotherapist who has a radio show that I listen to at times. Recently she put a posting on her Facebook page that states: "What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be."

So many live by "should", "have to," and "must" ideas. These, however, form the bars of our own cages and we are trapped by them.

As we enter into December it is especially important to consider the above quote. How do you think Christmas "is supposed to be?"

Do you think that all of the family needs to be together on the morning of December 25th? That might not happen. Your family may be in other places. You might not celebrate on December 25th. Or you might be like thousands who spend Christmas alone.

Do you think that this year everyone should be sober, happy and problem-free? That likely isn't going to happen. Life is full of problems and they don't magically disappear just because it is Christmas.

Do you think that each gift you give is to be perfectly wrapped and received with a "That's exactly what I have always wanted?" It's hard to buy gifts, especially when people have money and tend to just impulsively buy what they want when they want it.

Do you think that you are "supposed" to do all the baking and preparations to replicate the past or the Food Channel? It definitely wouldn't be realistic to attempt this. Remember, the Food Channel has staff and the show only lasts for thirty minutes so it's hard to copy them. (And why shouldn't others help you to get ready?)

Do you imagine the perfect Christmas party where you are the perfect weight, look fantastic and have a wonderful partner as your escort? Office and Christmas parties do not always go the way that they were planned - especially if there is too much drinking and flirting going on!

Does your annual Christmas letter need to be filled with all the amazing things that happened over the year? Remember the week that everyone was down with the flu? Perhaps your child didn't win the Nobel Peace Prize and maybe the camping trip got rained out. Everything might have been changed by a death in the family this year. Perhaps a simple card where you write "Thinking about you" would be all you need to bring a smile to the face of someone you care about.

What would happen if the outdoor Christmas lights didn't get hung this year? Maybe a tabletop tree would be easier and better than a twelve footer.

You cannot control others and sometimes you can't please them either. On the other hand, some people might try to inappropriately control you. Their words or actions might even cause hurt for you.

If you are focused on how it is "supposed to be", you will likely be disappointed. So, put your "should," "have to" and "musts" on the shelf and instead start the month by planning what is realistic, restful and meaningful.

Changing your "supposed to be" perspective can bring a new experience for you and those around you.

Then you will be ready to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.


Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email office@drlindahancock.com


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