Before I retired, I gave the same talk during every holiday season.  It was essentially the same advice. It had a variety of titles but in my mind it was always called KISS. I first heard that phrase as meaning, “Keep it simple, stupid.

As a New Thought minister, I changed it to, ”Keep It Simple, Sweetheart. “

The holidays can be great if you are careful to keep it simple and enjoy yourself. If you get trapped into trying to do everything to please everyone all the time, you will be sick and tired or just plain sick by the time New Year’s is over.

You don’t have to celebrate everything all the time. You can set limits.  You don’t have to give your power away. You don’t have to do everything or go everywhere. You can pick and choose. You can hold onto control of your life.

When our children were young, I had a friend who was Jewish and she wanted her children to have the best. Her family had a party every night for Hanukkah and then another big one on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day. She entertained guests every night.

She wasn’t much of a drinker but at her New Year’s Party, she always drank too because of her holiday fatigue. Every year, she either fought with her husband, burst into tears, made a fool of herself, threw up – or – all of the above!

She always started out with good intentions but they dissolved in the stress of trying to do it all. She was a lovely woman but a bit demented from Turkey Time until Groundhog’s Day.

The temptation to overbook is still tempting for all of us. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against celebrating the holiday season. I’m just saying you will enjoy life more if you keep it simple.

You don’t have to play Grinch. It’s just that if something doesn’t work for you, you have a right to skip it. I have let many parts of the holiday season go quite easily. I haven’t had a drink for 38 years. I don’t need to add to the world’s cookie supply. The tree is a pagan custom and too much trouble.

You may have some things you’d like to put on your own downsizing list. I support you in exercising your right to choose.  I’d like to see you do what you enjoy and what works for you. And I’d like to see you make choices based on today, not last year or when the kids were little.

Here’s an exercise you can do for yourself. Make a list of the things you love about the season and then rate them by how much you love them. You may be surprised.

Top of most people’s list is the people they love. If you will be with your loved ones or will be talking with them, that’s something to be grateful for. If you are alone, think about stepping out in some new way. Go to church on Christmas day. Help feed the homeless. Take a drive through the decorated houses or shops. Go to the theater or concert. You always have positive choices available.

I made my list many, many years ago and Christmas music was tops for me.  I try to catch as much of the traditional classical stuff as I can. This year, I think I’ll be watching some madrigal songs and a Monteverdi opera at home. I also have a wonderful DVD of Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman singing gospel music. I can entertain myself with this kind of music when I am alone since it is a “peculiar” taste. I honor my own taste and leave the chipmunks to others.

Be smart and stay in control. Before you embark upon any activity, ask yourself this question. “Am I doing this because I want to?”

You can follow up with, “Am I doing this because I’m afraid of the opinion of others?  These two questions will surely help you keep it simple, sweetheart.

Ask Yourself

What do I love about this holiday season?

What do I want participate in?

What do I want to drop?


One Comment on “KISS”

  1. Bruce Fredenburg says:

    Always thoughtful. Always a joy to read or hear what you are thinking

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