Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Then I Will Be Happy

As we trek forward towards Christmas, I am continuing doing my best to help you to keep the holidays less stressful.

4. Prioritize what would most make YOU HAPPY to get done.

I think in respect to my shortcomings, the one thing I do very well is choose happiness and know that it is MY responsibility to maintain my happiness. Regardless of your history, your life story, your pain, you alone are responsible for your own happiness. In fact, I believe that anyone who has grown up with a less than perfect family, hit all the walls, suffered all the agonies of the world are BETTER EQUIPPED to be happy than most people.

It pains me listen to a litany of all the things some believe they must do for the holidays. If you put the phrase "...then I would be happy," after each of the things you think you MUST get done in time for the holidays, you will hear how absurd it might be. Let's give it a try.

•Send out Christmas cards to 250 people...then I will be happy.
•Bake cookies for all the people who don't really like me but is my chance to suck up to them and hope they will like me....then I will be happy.
•Stay up all night making a dress for my co-worker's grand-daughter's boyfriend's niece that she can wear it to a Christmas program that I won't attend....then I will be happy.
•Over-extend my credit cards to impress my family and friends with my generosity and stress myself out for three months while I try to figure out how to pay the bills...then I will be happy.

Sounds pretty absurd.
I am not thumbing my nose at anyone's traditions, but it is important to note that none of us can or should try to do it all.

Sewing little things for my family and friends with no pressure...DOES make me happy. I think about the people receiving the gift and the joy they will have using it, wearing it or just seeing it. The most simple gifts make them happy because I put a lot of thought into what would bring them joy and I gave it because I loved making it for them.

I have been visioning a Christmas stitchery made of one of my favorite machine embroidery collections. As the snowstorm built up yesterday, I took out one of my very favorite fabric collections and picked threads to go with this collection. While I am writing this, my embroidery machine is diligently (and happily) stitching out the designs. I am stitching these out for my family. They love decorating at Christmas and the thought of the joy it brings them makes me very happy.

My husband loves getting Christmas cards. Sending a Christmas letter is important to him and working through that process makes him happy. I help him because seeing him delight over Christmas cards makes me happy.

My SIL, Sally shared with me her memories of baking cookies for Christmas with her sisters. Her eyes twinkled as she told me the story. Imagining the joy of her re-telling and how she has brought this tradition to her six sons. I am sure Sally had times she had to drag the boys through it; but watching how kind and loving her boys are, I am confident that Sally's happiness was transmitted to them in the joy of giving at Christmas. Each time I share cookies that Sally and her sisters have lovingly and lavishly brought together at the holidays, I think of Sally's happiness and my heart is warmed.

As you consider what traditions you carry with you at this holiday season, only choose that which makes you happy. Your love and passion will be evident in these things. Before you delve deep into any "hafta do" or "oughta do" or "should do" projects today, sit back with a warm cup of cocoa or tea and think about what brings you happiness and watch the ought and shoulds take their proper place...NOT in your life.

Happiness is a choice!

All the Best to You, jill

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