What’s in your holiday bucket?


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Icons of black cats with arched backs are appearing everywhere, to be followed soon by turkeys in all stages, from on-the-hoof to lying down, legs in air wearing a golden brown crust. Can wreaths, holly and jolly fat men in red suits surrounded by elves be far behind?

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What’s in your holiday bucket?

  1. 1. What’s in your Holiday Bucket?Icons of black cats with arched backs are appearingeverywhere, to be followed soon by turkeys in allstages, from on-the-hoof to lying down, legs in airwearing a golden brown crust. Can wreaths, hollyand jolly fat men in red suits surrounded by elves befar behind?Your memory bucket is filled with all kinds ofassociations with these icons, and every year you try to revive the pleasant ones – all of them.Not just for yourself, but for your loved ones, too. And your to-do list is overflowing.Does this sound like you? Already fatigued, maybe even exhausted, as you contemplate the(anticipated) demands on you?The hardest thing to do when faced with too much to do is this: pause, breathe, choose. Take thetime to contemplate who you really are right now, and what would most bring you joy. Then dothose things and throw the others out of your holiday bucket. Horrified at not fulfilling every“tradition” you have set up over the years? Here are some suggestions for, well, coming to yoursenses.Enlist the aid of family members to select their favorite memories from the Holiday Bucket, andimplement them as best they can. Why is it your job?Oppressed by the thought of selecting (and paying for) too many gifts? Anyone you know wellenough to exchange gifts with is someone you know well enough to hold a frank conversationwith – about finances, time, health and waste. (If you buy somebody a gift because it’s expected,will it really be used, or just add to the enormous pile of waste we seem to generate every year inthe U.S.?) How about a pleasant shared experience instead, such as going to hear a concert or seea show?Do you think you must send out Christmas cards? Send New Year’s cards instead, connectingwarmly with old friends and wishing them an inspired year. Your card (and wishes) won’t be lostin the stack on someone else’s mantel or desk. It may cheer someone up in the dark, cold daysthat typically follow Christmas.Determined to decorate your home just like the magazines? But wait, first you have to clean it.Don’t you? Elaborate decorations may delight the eye, but you can use the power of other sensesto evoke warm and wonderful memories. A few candles contribute a warm, soft glow. A pan ofmulling spices on the stove, pine-scented candles or spray evoke powerful memories. Thesetasks don’t take much effort, and in dim light, the house doesn’t have to be perfectly clean. Noone will notice dust bunnies under furniture when they are soaking up the nostalgic atmosphere.
  2. 2. When you’re handling too many tasks, you may be feeling more and more irritable – hardlysomething your loved ones want to experience. Too, you’re setting yourself up for illness, eitherspoiling your holidays or leaving you with a crushing post-holiday let-down.Christine Carter, Ph.D., with the Center for Greater Good, was given an assignment by a mentor– imagine you had been told you were going to die. What’s on your bucket list? She found to hersurprise, that she gave up ambitious but unrealized projects to opt for the simplest of pleasures.Lynette Crane, M.A.(Psychology) and Certified Life Coach, has more than 30 years experience in the field of stressmanagement. She currently works to provide stress and time pressure solutions to harried women, those women whoseek "Islands of Peace" in their overly-busy lives. Visit her website at http://www.creativelifechanges.com/ to seemore in-depth articles and to view her programs.