This time of year, people use words like stress, hectic, and frenzy more than usual. All the holiday prep and shopping on top of life’s usual demands can feel like just too much. What’s supposed to be a joyous season can become miserable.
Some years back, I had an epiphany about holiday shopping that’s proven very helpful to me. I’ll share it in case you might find it useful too.
On the day of this epiphany, I was in holiday stress mode at the grocery store. I had a long list at the end of a full workday. The store was crowded, of course. The soundtrack running through my mind was something like “Omg, I have got so much to get done tonight. It is a zoo in here. People, puleeeeze don’t block the aisle; I need to get through. C’mon, lady, just pick your green beans so the rest of us can get in there….” This stream of consciousness wasn’t helping my mood—and wasn’t doing any good for the people around me, either.
And then I realized: “Just go with it. All this frantic-ness isn’t getting you through the store any quicker. It is what it is.” Once I got out of the usual soundtrack in my head, I began to notice the store and the crowds in a different way. “They make such an effort to decorate this store for the holiday. Look at the abundance of food we have available! All these people are shopping for a holiday with the families they love. There’s so much energy here today!” I must have begun to smile, because people began smiling back at me. It was nice, festive. We were all in the holiday-prep swirl together. In a heartbeat, my shopping experience became completely different.
So that’s how I try to approach holiday shopping—and it helps. Of course, I can still get myself into a frenzy at times (yes, family, I know you may be smiling as you read this…). But the agita happens less often and doesn’t last as long, because what’s the point? The frantic soundtrack doesn’t get the job done any faster; it just makes the experience less enjoyable.
Maybe give it a try. Next time you’re in a store, look for the fun, the beautiful, and the sociable aspects. Feel the energy in the place as excitement. Think festive thoughts and smile at your fellow shoppers. I bet your shopping won’t take you any longer—and I’m pretty sure you’ll feel happier.