It is the holiday season! The expectation for tides of great joy should fill the air and occupy our every thought. To what degree do your expectations match up to that thought.
For some, our mindset is lingering back in those days and nights where the streets were quiet and the feel of the night is serene and warm with positive thoughts. Even the fall nights remind me of summer serenity. However, the crispness of the air is a sharp reminder that winter is on its way. Colorado citizens remember the front range can be 50ish temp when the mountains have a 50” pow-pow base. This reality should make us smile and enjoy the great choices we have.
As you look down the street in your community are you seeing those details that welcome a holiday celebration or are you reluctant and hesitant to share a smile. You have choices.
I believe we have better choices then most communities outside of CO. Having choices like snowboarding on Saturday and golfing 18 holes on Sunday, in December, our choices are not choices found in other states in the nation. I should also point out that these recreational choices are not void of generating competitive feelings. I am a competitor and enjoy competing, but I have also learned that misplaced competitive effort could create a bitter feeling by the participants. I would rather turn that frown around to better not bitter during this holiday season. Where do you find your better?
The obvious places to find competitive behavior is on the course, the slopes, or the field, but during the holiday season I believe we recognize other less obvious locations where competitive energy is present.
For example, Halloween and Christmas are focal point holidays for two arenas of competition. The first is from the streets one house versus another in the neighborhood. Let the light show begin.
Some are so competitive that they bridge Halloween lights to Christmas lights by sneaking a preemptive reminder that candy canes and snowmen are on their way right after the orange pumpkin has scarred you into shopping on black Friday after Thanksgiving.
I don’t mind shopping. I am not a competitive shopper and therefore I have very little resiliency. I will tap out at about 2 hours. I do, perhaps as you, have family members who are almost professional in their approach to shopping. There are some who are so disciplined in their shopping that they may not even buy anything. They truly just shop. When I have asked about this behavior I have been told that shopping is also about research and pricing without buying anything.
I then ask, so why not just use Google to do your research, while you avoid sore feet and aggravation. By asking this question I get my first exposure to competitive attitude. “No way can I do that! I must try things on, feel it, see how it looks and then consider what I have that will go with it. Shopping is a process!” When I heard process, I had no argument, and I understood that shopping causes some to compete with themselves.
Competing with yourself while shopping is far more controlled and rewarding then diving into the many crowded shops and malls during the holidays. In these environments competing seems to be more like self-preservation or capture the flag then personal satisfaction finding an outfit that helps you look your best. As I think about this I am wondering so why do people go shopping during the holidays?
My family tells me it is a process to be honored and enjoyed, but during the holidays is the process really honored? Friends tell me it must be done. Like a rite of passage or an initiation into a special club. I believe it is simply a competition to get items on a list at prices you can brag about while sharing stories of your conquest.
Like any competitive game there are rules and guidelines to follow. Do the shoppers have rules they follow? Do the stores hold them accountable to guidelines or is it just open the doors and let them go at 12:01am on Black Friday? I know NFL linebackers that will not tackle this challenge.
Using the internet is a staple shopping resource for many because it is quick and big box stores will guarantee shipping. I am still hopeful, that those who start early will venture to local merchants while enjoying the holiday season. Perhaps shopping will include strolls through neighborhoods to see holiday lights.
I am hopeful that shoppers consider local merchants first,m for their holidays gifts and goodies. I equally hope that you, the shopper, venture out in person to say hello to local merchants as they share happy holiday wishes face to face. At the end of any great competition there is the face to face hand shake and statement, “Good Game! Let’s do this again!”
Then there the drive home takes you past the many homes showcasing their homes decorated celebrating the season. Each home shares a combination of lights and figures that challenges using inflatables versus molded plastic. The common thread of creativity from home to home is the use of lights, primary colors red and green, as they tell holiday stories on their front yards.
When my daughter was younger we would ride through the community and count how many plastic fixtures decorated front yards and roof tops. Our favorite was Santa and his reindeer. If any part of that display moved we gave it extra style points. Second to Santa was any combination of candy canes along sidewalks flanked by Frosty the Snowman. It was neighborhood visits like the ones with my daughter that taught me how to recognize the better attributes of environments while not dwelling on the bitter elements.
As you view decorated homes in your community try not to be bitter about decorative choices but maybe consider ways the yard décor could be made better. There are many homes that are decorated with the best of intentions thinking that their effort is better than others in the neighborhood. Regretfully, for some, no amount of sparkling lights will improve the lighting scheme they ended up with.
It is at that moment, you may choose to recognize the effort as better while forgiving the vision as bitter. Another critique could say, “more is not always better”.
Considering a simpler strategy may be a better fit for both, house and the neighborhood. In either case, a complicated array of lights and decoration or simple tasteful highlights is meaningful when your purpose is to better your image for the holidays with the intent to help others feel joy. Then bring on as many decorations and lights as you want.
It is my hope that the 2019 holiday season is resplendent with the hope of better and actions that try to go beyond.
The holiday season is about “bringing tidings of great joy” whether your tide is a small ripple or a giant wave of light show and pageantry. It is also about looking to others with an appreciation for differences that does not cause you to hesitate to bring them into your world of joy and holiday spirit.
As you create your shopping lists and check them twice remind yourself of how shoppers will compete for the last toy on the shelf or getting to the Santa Claus line first. Take a breath and consider do you want your holiday better or bitter. Feed off the joy and let it support you to control your emotions when someone cuts you off running for a gift. Become a joyful competitor that finds ways to enjoy your surroundings, support your community, and enjoy those you care for.