There is no ideal Christmas; only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions.” – Bill McKibben
“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, not weakness.” – Henry David Thoreau
Thanksgiving has come and gone. Christmas is on the way. How many times has someone asked you “The Big Holiday Question?” If you are a woman, you have probably heard it several times already. You, yourself, might have asked others The Big Holiday Question. If you are a man, you probably have no idea what The Big Holiday Question is.
The Big Holiday Question is, “Are you ready for the holidays?” I first became aware of this question years ago. I noticed that women began to greet each other with The Big Holiday Question, starting sometime in late October, and kept asking the question into January.
I also noticed that almost every woman answered The Big Holiday Question with an exasperated, “No,” and then begin to recite the myriad of tasks she “had to do.” I have often heard women end their recitation with a fervent declaration, “I dread the holidays and wish they were already over.”
If you listen, you will hear the question everywhere you go. The Big Holiday Question is something like the private code of a secret society. By asking The Big Holiday Question, women instantly recognize themselves as members of a society of sisters overwhelmed with Too Much To Do. “Christmas is a season of such infinite labor, as well as expense in the shopping and present-making line, that almost every woman I know is good for nothing in purse and person for a month afterwards, done up physically, and broken down financially. ” – Fanny Kemble
More Is Not Abundance
Ironically, The Big Holiday Question is one of the most powerful and insidious enemies to living an “Abundantly Alive Now!” life. The reason is that the Big Holiday Question is propelled by the idea of doing more, and more, and more, and more. All around us, we are bombarded with messages of more.
Whether the reasons are innate or socially created, women seem to feel responsible for doing the lion’s share of the “have-tos” to get ready for the holidays. As far as I can tell, men do not drive themselves crazy asking each other The Big Holiday Question. Holiday overkill seems to be a female sport.
For many women, the holiday season is driven by the idea of shopping more, spending more, buying more, cooking more, baking more, simply doing more, and more, and more. And more is never enough.
I don’t intend to get into a war of the sexes game here by claiming that men “should” do more. My point is that The Big Holiday Question is an enemy of abundance. Anytime you are feeling overwhelmed with thoughts of all you “have to do” to prepare for the dreaded upcoming holidays, you are not living in abundance. Driving yourself crazy with a massive holiday do-to list is a demonstration of lack rather than abundance.
As a replacement for The Big Holiday Question, I offer you one of my favorite questions, “What is enough?” In another issue, I will tell why that question is so important to me. Right now, I offer you the question to set you free from the relentless demands of The Big Holiday Question, which never knows when to quit.
For example, instead of telling yourself that you have to bake ten kinds of holiday cookies, you could ask yourself, “What is enough?” You might decide that “enough” means baking only two kinds of Christmas cookies instead of ten. Or you could decide to skip baking cookies entirely this year. The question, “What is Enough?” changes the equation. Instead of “trying” to do everything you think you “should,” you decide what enough means for you.
About the time I began to notice The Big Holiday Question, I also made my own decision about the holidays. I love the holiday season. I love Christmas trees and sparkling lights. I love to buy presents for the people I love. I decided that I would remain calm and peaceful in the season, even if everyone else was going crazy around me. My own criterion for the “What is enough?” question is, if I begin to feel even the slightest bit frantic, I decide I have passed the point of “Enough” into the terrain of “Too Much.”
“Don’t worry about anything. Worrying never solved anything. All it does is distort your mind.” – Milton Garland
The truth is, feeling Abundantly Alive Now! never results from the word “more.” This feeling results from the word “enough.” Abundance means having enough to live joyously, calmly, and lovingly in the present moment.
Ultimately, the greatest harm done by The Big Holiday Question is that it diverts your attention from living fully in this moment and focuses it upon a future time. It is one thing to plan and prepare. It is another matter entirely to sacrifice the only moment you have to live your life, which is this moment, to replace it with harried efforts to “Get ready for the holidays.”
Kalinda Rose Stevenson, Ph.D. and Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach is the author of “Debt or Alive: How To Get Out Of Debt and Feel Abundantly Alive” Get your free ezine, “Abundantly Alive Now!” at http://www.abundantlyalivenow.com/ Learn how to live joyously, calmly and lovingly in the present moment.