How to keep your humbug from going bah!

I was out of town this weekend and happened to spend some time at the local mall.  It was decorated with giant holiday bulbs hanging from the 3-story atrium, garland everywhere, and humongous boxes of presents wrapped all pretty.  There were candy canes the size of trees, nut-cracker statues standing guard at every entrance, and the sounds of the holidays were playing on the PA system.

Christmas at MallI walked into this winter wonderland and immediately felt happy and jolly! Within about 3 minutes, that feeling changed!  I was headed for the food court which was at the other end of the mall.  I was going with traffic and walking in pace with the flow of the crowd.  I quickly noticed a group of kids fighting and yelling at each other.  A small crowd had gathered around them and was cheering on the fight.  A few more paces and I was bumped by a woman running out of a store at 90 Mph.  I don’t know if she had just stolen something or if she had been called to an emergency or what but she darted from the storefront as if she were Flo Jo.  After almost being knocked over, I continued on my way.  I got to the elevator and stood well clear of the door.  When it opened, a woman backed out of it pulling a stroller and continued backing and plowed down my 10 year-old daughter.  After my daughter had picked herself up and I had said “excuse me ma’am someone’s behind you” the woman glared at me and my little girl and said something to the effect of “!@#$% you – get out of my !@#@#%! way.”  Again, my girl and I were standing about 30 feet from the elevator at the time.   I’m not sure why the woman backed all the way across the hall without looking.

Ok…so now I’m on the elevator a bit miffed.  The holiday glow and the jolliness that I got when I entered the place was slowly disappearing.  I go to the food court and stood in line at the counter.  There was one person in line who was talking on her cell and kept asking the cashier to wait to take her order.  After about 10 minutes of her breaking up with her boyfriend on the phone, the woman finally placed order and I was able to order.  “I’ll have the 6.99 Chinese Special with a water” I said.  “That will be 12.99” the cashier said.   “I’m sorry, I only ordered 1 special” I politely said.  I asked the cashier how this mathematical miracle could have happened and after about 5 minutes of her just saying “12.99” and smiling, I gave up and gave her the money and took my golden meal.

Ok…I could go on… but my experience this past weekend illustrates how easy it is to have a happy mood ruined.  How easy it is to fall into the bah humbug mode around the holidays.  Everyone is hurried and harried this time of year and all you have to do is step outside your door and it seems that there are reasons to hate the season.  My advice however is what you’d expect – DON’T!

Don’t hate the season and don’t let the hustle of it get you down.  Don’t swear off the holidays because of the commercialization or the fact that 95% of the people you encounter this time of year SEEM to have forgotten about the real reason for the holidays and instead only think of their lists, their rushing, and their lack of time.  Don’t become a scrooge!  Don’t let it happen.  Remember, YOU control how you feel.   Your feelings are YOUR OWN and you are in charge.  If you want to get mad at others for plowing down your daughter, fighting, charging you a 2nd mortgage for lunch then it is YOU and YOU alone who have made yourself mad.   I could have been upset the rest of the evening and let myself stew over the blatant absurdity of the mall scene but I didn’t.

Although I got upset at the moment, I quickly realized that I wanted to have fun the rest of the day so let it slide off my back and focused on other things – namely spending time with my children.  That was what made me happy.  That was what defined my day.  Not the dumb things that happened during our lunch at the mall.

It’s sometimes difficult to take charge of your feelings when lots of bad things are happening but you can do it.  You CAN do it!  Focus on those things that will get you through the bad times or the unpleasant experiences.  Focus on those things that you can look forward to.  Refocus on those things that are positive in a situation.  By continually focusing on the negative and on those things that cause you angst, you are building on a foundation of negativity and that negative foundation will surely lead to destruction and unhappiness if left unchecked.

Remember P.A.C.E.  – A positive attitude cures everything.  During this time of year, remember P.A.C.E.   Remember what makes you happy.   Think of those things that cause you great joy.  If we can do these simple things, then we are well on our way to a no-bah-humbug holiday!

Happy Holidays!!