Over the last couple of weeks, I have had no fewer than 5 people tell me they were really looking forward to Thanksgiving. And really not looking forward to Christmas. I understand. Thanksgiving seems to have kept its true identity. It is a time to be thankful for what you have, spend time with loved ones, and yes, eat. A lot. Over the years, that has stayed the same for most people. If you traveled back in time to the 1950’s and peeked at a family on Thanksgiving Day, you probably wouldn’t notice a big difference from a scene from Thanksgiving today. Except it would be in black and white. Obviously.

That shows that we are capable of maintaining and appreciating tradition, right? We can focus on what is important in our lives. We can keep it simple and family oriented. Right? So what happened with Christmas? All of these otherwise sane people who wish each other well on November 24th absolutely lose their @$#% on November 26th. Well technically, some lose it earlier, depending on when your holiday sales shopping starts.

I have a long standing tradition of my own. I started it many years ago, and it has served me well. I get at least 90% of my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving Day. I have never, nor will I ever, participate in a Black Friday shopping event. is my holiday BFF. I may stop and grab a couple of stocking stuffers at the ol’ brick and mortar, but I do it quickly and grudgingly.

People show their worst side this time of year. People cut each other off, risk lives to get parking spots and forget every manner their mothers ever taught them the day after Thanksgiving and right through until December 26th. The reason for this tragic turn of events? Stress. And who puts this stress on you? You do. That’s right, you do it to yourself!

Your family does not need the most expensive gift this year. Your children do not need whatever ridiculous toy the toy companies have deemed hot and unattainable this year. You do not have to force yourself into debt for the first 3 months of the new year. And you will not ruin anyone’s life if you don’t get them a present. When you look back on your life, you are not going to remember what any of those gifts were. But you will remember whether or not you gave the people you love the best of you. Those are the memories that will stick.

So I challenge you to make your own tradition this year. Ask yourself what Christmas means to you. Then do at least one thing that will take away some stress from your holiday this year. And if it works, then pick another thing to try next year. Before you know it, you might actually enjoy Christmas again. Imagine that!

Let me know what you decided to try. It might work for someone else too.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year to you all.