Thursday, November 15, 2012

Holiday Risk

December 2011

We are heading into the holiday season at a rackety pace.  Having celebrated Halloween and had a day off earlier this week to remember veterans, next week we celebrate Thanksgiving, my favorite occasion for reflecting on family, friends and home and for being grateful for what we have. 

Taking the time to reflect on holidays is the best way I know to reduce risk that arises in stressful situations.  I try to be deliberative in planning or accepting invitations to holiday events that seem to start in early December and run through the end of the year.  I try to avoid "Black Friday," allegedly the biggest shopping day of the year, both online and with local merchants, spending the day instead making some of the homemade gifts that we intend to give this year.  And I'll complete arrangements for travel  early in the new year.

In early December, I will re-discuss with myself the merits and tradeoffs in a fresh vs an artificial tree. And I will bring out holiday decorations for the house, trying to weed out and donate those I don't use anymore.    At the same time, I'll go back through our winter clothing for the same reason:  to donate clothing, especially warm coats, we don't really use anymore, to neighborhood youth shelters.   And I'll take pleasure in a longstanding holiday tradition, to write our annual holiday letter and put together a holiday photo card, and update mailing addresses for friends and family.

All of these actions are meant to 1) encourage thoughtful deliberation about what the holidays mean; 2) reduce the commercial aspects of the holidays; and 3) reduce risk from stress associated with the holidays.

There's a message in each holiday for each of us if we can but find the time to re-discover it.

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