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CHRISTMAS HAS A KNOB. USE IT!
by Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach

Christmas has a knob.

What does this mean? It means you have choices. It's your holiday and you can have it just the way you like it.

Turn it on, turn it off. Turn it up, turn it down. Adjust the dial. Get rid of the static.

It means you're free to celebrate or not, in exactly the way you wish.
· It means you're free to ignore media hype that tells you if you're a Real Husband you'll give her a diamond or a fur.
· It means you know your child can live without Tickle Me Elmo.
· It means you have emotional self-awareness and know what you enjoy and what you don't.
· It means you don't need your mother-in-law's approval if you and your husband decide to take a cruise this year instead of going to her house.
· It means you can not buy your teenage son a Hummer "like everyone else" because that isn't in your values
· It means you can respectfully tell your Uncle Harry he's welcome if he stays sober, and not if he doesn't
· It means you can refuse to be 'used' as a single person to sit between the impossible boor and the ex-spouse at the holiday table.
· It means if you're the single grandmother, you can go to the Bahamas with your boyfriend for Christmas and let the other grandparents have the sick kids, the exhausted parents, the expensive, time-consuming meal, and the long clean-up at their place this year
· It means you can BE the traditional Christmas and have the whole family, their dog and everyone they know over to your house and cook and clean for a week, have half of them stay as house-guests, put on your Santa suit, hang mistletoe from the rafters, and love every minute of it
· It means you can establish and honor traditions, or you can do it differently each year.

It means you can be unique! At the holidays, be more of who you are. Everyone else is taken!

It means if you're an extrovert, have 'em all over and go to every party. It means if you're an introvert, don't!

Nancy Fenn, the Introvert Coach ( http://www.bemyguide.net/introvert_coach.html talks about the kind of holidays introverts enjoy the most.

One of her favorite Christmases, she says, she spent almost the entire "season" designing a gigantic webpage for a German professor, painting Russian-like icon paintings and emailing her daughter daily who was in Morocco on a language study program. "Heaven!" she says.

I myself have been single by choice for over 20 years. Some Christmases my sons were with me, others they were with their dad. The alternate Christmases left me free to create, design, invent! Each one was different; each one was special.

One year I found a friend of mine crying in the church bathroom because it would be the first year her ex would have the kids and she'd be alone. "Oh, come with me," I said. "I'll show you how to do this." As others had shown me!

I think my last year of not exercising my Personal Power was when a friend invited me to join her and her family for Christmas Eve and then added, "It's Fred's mother's year. She's so impossible. I need you there."

I decided I didn't need me there.

The Introvert Coach calls this 'throwing a steer in with the bulls.' I decline to be the steer thrown in with the bulls.

One Christmas Eve I turned off the Christmas tree lights, turned off the Christmas music, put a fire in the fireplace and curled up with a great book.

Two Thanksgivings my boys were with their dad, and I was in graduate school, with finals coming up, and I just studied, grateful to have the quiet time. One of those times I did go out to get some turkey at Lubys (cafeteria). I sat next to an extended family that argued and fought the whole time, and before I got up and moved (I have choices) I gave thanks that I was UNcelebrating Thanksgiving in a peculiar, however pleasant way. People who are married seem to think it's awful for a single person to "be alone" at Christmas, and they extend invitations often with the comment, "Do you have somewhere to go? I just don't want you to be alone." I am not making this up.

With all due respect, I prefer to be invited somewhere because my companionship is valued, not because I'm pitied, or needed to keep the family members off one another's throats, or because I'm such a good conversationalist, or because "we usually invite a service-man, but none are available this year." Again,
I am not making this up.

If only these people knew the fun I've had celebrating the holidays my way!

Nearly every year at some point, I've canceled Christmas for a day or two. I didn't listen to Christmas music on the car radio or at home, I didn't turn on the tree lights, I didn't go in the living room, and I didn't think about what needed doing. I just turned it off.

Many years I worked for a church, and the pressure was triple - my own Christmas, the decompensation of the members who were vulnerable (recent deaths, mental instability, old age) and came in to talk, and the increased workload meant at times I had to stop and take
care of myself.

Having emotionally intelligent holidays means emotional self-awareness and using your judgment, your intentionality, and your personal power.

Treat yourself right -- decide what kind of holiday you intend to have. This means accepting responsiblity for your actions, your emotions, and your motives.

Ask yourself this - do you intend to enjoy the holidays or to stress yourself out? The choice is yours.

The holidays have a knob. Turn it on, turn it up, turn it down, turn it off. Adjust that dial!


(C) Susan Dunn is a personal and professional life coach specializing in emotional intelligence, transitions, mid-life, and womens issues. Visit her on the web at www.susandunn.cc and mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for FREE ezine.

 

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