David FullerWhat do we miss by rushing through the celebrations and skipping the festivities of the Christmas season?

At the end of the year, many people celebrate holidays like Christmas or Hanukah, New Year’s Eve or Festivals of Lights. Even if you aren’t religious, you probably celebrate Christmas with gifts or family gatherings and large meals.

When we were young, these celebrations filled our imaginations and our minds with wonder.

However, as we grow older we become more cynical, tired and grumpy! Not only are we like this with our families, we’re like this with our work and businesses.

I can remember when I was a child, Christmas was a big event. Not only did it have religious significance in our family, but we spent four weeks preparing for the big day. I couldn’t wait to get up on Christmas morning to see what Santa had brought.

As a child, I didn’t see the work my mother put into Christmas preparations or the cost of gifts that my father worked hard to provide. What I do remember is the food, the gifts and the visitors who came for dinner.

For days after Christmas, we lazed around playing board games and sledding in the snow. Those were days where the wonder of Christmas seemed to drift on forever and the spell was only broken when we had to return to school and the mundane tasks of ordinary life.

But ordinary life can take over sooner if we let it. Days can run into weeks without fun, games, feasts and friends.

If you work in retail at this time of year, I guarantee you’re tired. I know from 30 years of retail experience that exhaustion can set in from the long hours, long lines and cranky customers.

So often in every business we get to the end of the year and we’re tired of thinking about the work. We can become weary of people, and sometimes we see the holidays as a waste of time, money and energy. We see them as a burden of awkwardness around bonuses and gifts, small talk and staff parties.

What if you were to see it through a child’s eyes again? Could you take a few minutes each day to look forward to some time off and dream up a few ideas about what you would like to do? What would happen if you didn’t have preconceived notions about what was going to happen this Christmas?

Imagine how much fun you could have if you didn’t think about what Uncle Albert was going to say when he had a few drinks or how you hate staff parties. That negative thinking isn’t going to make things better and you know it!

Celebrations can infuse our bodies with energy and leave us feeling rejuvenated if we let it happen. We can take the time to enjoy our family and friends if we put our minds to it.

Looking for the good in others and considering the deeper meaning of the season can be reinvigorating to our spirits. Consider all the great things that happened to you this year that you might want to celebrate:

  • the great staff you work with;
  • the fact that your customers keep coming back;
  • those suppliers who have become friends;
  • don’t forget about your family, who support you despite your grumpiness, tiredness and excesses;
  • and those friends who know nothing about your job but want to spend time with you!

This year, stop rushing through the holidays long enough to let your thoughts be diverted from the burdens of work to the joyfulness of the season.

Let your mind be rested with extra sleep and the pleasurable distractions that you’ve missed throughout the year.

Enjoy your family and friends because this time next year, there may be fewer of them.

Try for even a few minutes to remember what it was like when you were a child surprised by joy!

Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award winning business coach and a partner in the firm Pivotleader Inc. Comments on business at this time? Email dave@pivotleader.com

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