Are you ready for the holiday season? I don’t mean are you ready to go shopping like mad, vacationing, partying and eating. I’m asking if you are ready for the time when you are inundated with folks trying to sell you anything in sight while others are sending you notices of upcoming bills and events that use up the money you try to save by shopping for bargains. If you aren’t ready you are not alone at all. Every year people swear that they will be ready and prepared to enjoy the holidays, and every year they find themselves working like dogs to get things done at 11:00 PM on the very eve of the holiday.
So how do you manage to get a handle on all that stress and strain? One way is by incorporating it into the event. After all, how much of our pleasant memories of past holidays include some event gone wrong, or something that was totally unanticipated. Many people have memories of the time a carefully prepared meal didn’t come out right and they were forced to order something from a crowded restaurant at the last moment. And who doesn’t remember the time when a tree fell, or the lights blew out? Some of our fondest memories are of things that didn’t go as planned. Who doesn’t remember with fondness the reaction when a gift carefully picked out from a selection like that from Hudson’s Bay catalogue turned out to be something the recipient already owned? That’s a big reason many of us rely upon gift cards these days. We get one with a Groupon coupon or promo code, then give them to our friends and loved ones, and feel glad that we haven’t joined the club of those who circulate gifts around from one to another, or who store them on a closet shelf of memories.
Yet sometimes we may feel a sense of loss for the feelings we had when we received a present from someone, even if it happened to be the worst color or the wrong size. The real value was in the spirit of giving and receiving. Fortunately, we haven’t completely lost that spirit yet, regardless of how much society and technology have changed our lives today.