Monica Cost

*What is your reason for the season? If someone asked you that, you might say something like; “It’s a time for getting, for family, enjoying loved ones, giving thanks for our many blessings, atonement, etc.”

However, for many of us it quickly turns into a time of rushing, anxiety, painful decisions, the pressure of others’ expectations, and incredible over spending.  What happens? We begin with a plan. It could be along the lines of; “I’m going to make a list this year, shop early, shop for sales, and stick to my budget, I’m not going to let my sister get to me (She always starts in on my weight), I’m going to ignore my Uncle Bobby because I know he’s going to talk about how I wouldn’t lend him any money, I know I f I don’t get my children the new Xbox, they won’t be happy.”

We spend our holidays in the Land of Make Believe; a place where it matters not what we can actually afford, what we would like to experience this season, how we want to share the experience of the holidays with our children, that we want to mend a broken relationship, or that our resources are lower than they’ve ever been.  In the Land of Make Believe it does matter that your children get to brag about the expensive gifts they received from “Santa” or their parents, that you don’t eat a lot at dinner so that others will believe your story that you’ve been dieting, that you give just the “right” gift to your boss, that your spouse can boast about a new pricey “something” or that you spent the holidays in Paris.

The good news is, there is still time to have a great holiday in the Land of Authenticity and Truth. You can occupy a lovely piece of real estate here. Despite what you believe others’ expectations are, you can come out on the other side of this with a clear conscience, funds in your account, and a guiltless soul. Take a moment to remember why you even bother to celebrate the holidays. You may think about how wonderful your childhood was during the holiday season, or a loved one who lost a battle with a sickness and would have loved to be here right now to experience this time. Think about how no matter how far from your Land of Authenticity and Truth you go in order to be a pleaser this holiday season, that everyone, especially you, will not be pleased. It will feel much better to know that you went with your heart, your purse, and your truth this year.

It’s still early. Here are 5 steps to have a great holiday season in your own Land of Authenticity and Truth. Step 1: Envision what you want this holiday season to represent and see it clearly. Step 2: Gain perspective. There are soldiers fighting, people with terminal illnesses, and others with no choice about how they spend their holidays. Step 3: If you’re going to give store bought gifts, buy online and take advantage of free shipping. Step 4: Think of other creative ways to celebrate this joyous time of year. For instance, do people comment on your cakes, brownies, or the beautiful poems you write? Consider gifting your talent. They may forget what you bought them, but they will remember what you made them. Step 5: Be true to yourself in all that you do.

With Santa and his elves, there is enough Land of Make Believe to go around. We are having real experiences with real people. Why not have them in truth.

Monica Cost is communications strategist, brand manager and respected corporate and motivational speaker. She is the President and Founder of Evidently Assured, a brand & talent management firm.  Email her at:  [email protected]. Follow her viaTwitter: @monicacost and Facebook.com/monicahairstoncost.