poinsettia image by Alex CubeFor most people, including myself, there is always some sort of trigger during the holidays mixed in with all the joy and cheer. Yes, the lights are beautiful, and it’s fun to see the kids open gifts, but in the background is a layer of drama that shows up during what I call “The Holiday Exchange.”

You respond to someone else’s sarcasm with a few jabs of your own. You deal with your resentment by spending more than you should on a gift, to make up for your bad behavior. You blow up when your kids ask, “what’s for dinner?”  You drink too much at the holiday party to relieve your stress.

Why so much drama during the holidays?

You might be tired. Your work demands longer hours and you feel fatigued by all that is expected of you from family and friends. Your diet is blown and you have gained back the 10 you just lost, and you are running on pure adrenalin. It’s easy to let the subconscious programming take over, to repeat old dysfunctional patterns.

Are you ready to step into a new truth?

    How to Craft a Different Holiday Exchange

        * Exchange resentment for understanding.
        * Exchange guilt for self-acceptance.
        * Exchange harsh words for a moment of restraint.
        * Exchange frantic hurry for a slow breath and cup of tea.
        * Exchange sarcasm for kindness.
        * Exchange gossip for maturity.
        * Exchange foolishness for wisdom.
        * Exchange anxiety for a few laughs (Turn to favorite movies or friends for these.)

You might say, “But I wouldn’t get triggered if others weren’t so rude.” Or, “If I just had more time, then I could be kinder,” — or more patient, or at peace.

Here is my challenge to you: Be at peace anyway. Let your choices be made based on WHO YOU ARE, not on circumstances and not on what everyone else is doing.

Just get clear on who you are, what you want, and what you are committed to.  As I said so many times in my book, Stop Workplace Drama, “Clarity can change any situation.”

Get clear, and become the change you wish to see.

    Points to Ponder
    1. What do you clearly want?Marlene Chism, StopYourDrama.com
    2. What is your commitment for the holidays?
    3. What must you choose to fulfill your commitment?


Marlene Chism is a professional speaker, consultant and author of Stop Workplace Drama (Wiley 2011). For more information go to  www.stopworkplacedrama.com or MarleneChism.com. Read more articles on her GNN Author page.

Poinsettia image by Alex Cube

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