Syndicated sports talk show host Colin Cowherd has this rant about how Christmas is one of his least favorite holidays. Ugly sweaters, too many relatives, Black Friday, and the mad rush for gifts are all aspects of Christmas that some of us would rather avoid. Me, I love this time of the year. The winter weather, vacation days, time spent with family and friends and anticipation of the New Year make this a time of reflection and celebration.
However, if we’re not careful, we may do some things during the holiday season that can make this celebratory time less enjoyable.
Here are six things to avoid:
Overeating: H is for holiday, not hibernation. You don’t need the extra layer of fat for extended slumber. “It’s the holiday” or “I’ll work it off next year” are not good reasons to stuff your face with endless servings of sugar cookies, pot roast, and mashed potatoes.
I remember, one year, eating two whole pumpkin pies over a period of three days. I thought my skin was turning orange. It’s good to indulge during Christmastime. Just don’t go too crazy. The extra ten pounds and the need to buy baggier clothes is not a good way to start the New Year – even if joining the gym is one of your New Year resolutions.
Being “That Guy” at the work holiday party: I remember a co-worker telling me a story about drinking a little too much at a managerial function, walking up to the CEO, and saying, “What’s up (insert last name of the CEO)?!” This is a pretty good way to end your career. Same with being loud and obnoxious, making inappropriate remarks to the single (or married) women, or beginning your sentences with “Watch this…” Also, if there’s karaoke involved, it’s probably not a good idea to do your R. Kelly “Bump n’ Grind” impression complete with gestures and hip movement. It’s OK to loosen up and have a beer or cocktail…but not several. “That guy” antics don’t disappear after the new year. In fact, they’ll probably still be talking about you at next year’s holiday party…if you still have a job.
Overspending: I remember reading some crazy factoid that talked about how a lot of credit card debt included Christmas expenditures dating back several years. You want your kid to have the brand new i-something or gaming system. You want to surprise your wife with expensive jewelry. I mean, Christmas is all about giving, right? Like overeating, though, we shouldn’t have the attitude of, “I’ll worry about it next year.” Carrying consumer debt is never a good idea and a terrible way to start the new year. Take a look around the house. What once was a “must buy gift” is probably sitting in the closet or on a shelf collecting dust. Check out two of my favorite blogs regarding holiday purchases: The Minimalists and Zen Habits. You don’t have to be that extreme, but some good ideas to reflect on.
Not Connecting: Christmas is the ideal time to play catch-up with friends and family members you don’t see during the course of the year. As hectic as the holidays are, ironically, it’s also a time when companies shut/slow down and people tend to take time off. It’s also the season of parties and get-togethers. In addition to family house-jumping, I usually meet-up with friends at a bar or restaurant. We also attend different family functions to connect with relatives we haven’t seen for a while. I look forward to these times of just relaxing, hanging out, and strengthening these relationships that might not get much attention during the year.
Not getting a jump on next year: Yes, the holidays are a time to relax, eat, and reconnect. Things at work usually slow down. People are focused on their holiday plans. But this is also an ideal time to get a jump on the next year. I’m not saying go all-out on your personal and professional plans, but maybe lay the foundation and start on some things. Maybe that project that’s due in Q1. Or get going on some of the goals you’ve written down for yourself. While everyone else is in a food coma, you’ll already be three steps ahead when you roll into 2013.
Not being reflective or thankful: If you’ve made it through another year, no matter how difficult, you should be thankful. Take some time to appreciate what you’ve accomplished. More importantly, be thankful for the things you have now. As you enter into the new year, think of some of the things you want to change, get done, or accomplish. If you’re fortunate enough to have some time off, make sure you spend some time giving thanks. For example, I’m grateful that you’ve taken the time to stop and read this post/blog.
Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!