How to Fire Your Inner Scrooge and Be Merry & Bright

 

Christmas 1977

Over time hubs and I have simplified how we celebrate our holidays. We’ve replaced rushing, spending, and over committing with dim lights, bright candles and soft holiday music.  

My amaryllis is in full bloom and the grandchildren will arrive Christmas day. There’ll be no craziness and stress, only hiking, exploring, and fun. It hasn’t always been this way! 

I invite you to dare to be different this season. Give yourself permission to make all things new.  

Don’t aim for perfection. The reality is kids fight, pets get sick, dinner is late, disagreements happen and relationships become strained.  

Remember you’re only responsible for your own happiness. You don’t have to hold the world together.  

Make the choice to be merry and joyful. I give you these exercises and quotes to guide you.

What internal environment are you creating? Look at the world, that's it exactly. ~ Byron Katie
 

1. Set your intention.
Instead of thinking of your “to do” list, make your “to be” list. I will be grateful, reflective and peaceful. My intention is to share the love that I am with others.
 

Every decision you make-every decision- is not a decision about what to do. It’s a decision about who you are. ~Neale Donald Walsch 

2. Prioritize.

What do the holidays mean to you? Decide what people, places, things, and events have a positive influence. Make everything count. Drop all that is meaningless. This step alone is life changing.

Life must be lived as play. ~Plato
 

3. Become childlike.

Plan to play, laugh and be silly. Go outdoors and enter a road race, rollerblade, hike, ice skate or ski. Indoors, make time for reading, painting, journaling, and board games. Never underestimate the power of planning good times for yourself.

All is calm, all is bright. ~Silent Night

4. Restore your inner calm.

Improve your mood and eliminate anxiety by taking time out. Go for a 20 minute power walk, sit in silence or listen to music. Nothing is worth more than your peace of mind and calm heart
.

“Scatter Joy.” ~
Ralph Waldo Emerson

5. Focus on love.

Do something spiritually uplifting. Visit a children’s hospital or an elder shut-in. Volunteer in a soup kitchen or donate to a favorite charity. Declare your love and appreciation to those around you. Unlimited opportunities for making a difference exist.

As you breathe in cherish yourself. As you breathe out cherish all beings. ~
Dalai Lama

6. Stay in the present moment.

Don’t bring the past to the present. Put grievances aside. Practice acceptance. Don’t talk about yesterday or think of tomorrow. Joy is here now, love is in this moment. Celebrate your now!  

To exclude anything that appears in your universe is not love. Love joins with everything. ~
Byron Katie

7. Create a spirit of unity.

Be kind. Become genuinely interested in others. Offer to lend a helping hand. Focus on the good. We all want to give love, to receive love and to know that we matter. Join with others. Separation is an illusion.

You can’t disappoint another human being. You can only disappoint yourself. ~
Byron Katie

8. Ask for help.

You don’t have to do it all. Resist becoming a martyr. Let go of the desire to control everything. Assign tasks to others. Let go of “shoulds.” Being a victim is never fun.

The life of the individual has meaning only insofar as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful ~
Einstein

9. Under indulge.

Say “no” to overspending, overeating, and excessive drinking. Soothing yourself with unhealthy habits or addictions is a temporary fix. Learn to stay centered and grounded in difficult situations.

I'm very clear that everyone in the world loves me. I just don’t expect them to realize it yet. ~
Byron Katie

10. Drop your story.

Don’t dwell on unhappy times, memories or events. Drop your expectations on how others will behave or treat you. Refuse to gossip or complain.
 

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  ~William Ward

11. Express gratitude.

Appreciate others. Practice gratitude for simple pleasures. Tell five people you are grateful for their presence in your life.

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. ~
Thich Nhat Hann

12. Be true to yourself.

Treat yourself with kindness. Give yourself the love and acceptance you want from others. The single most important thing you can do, to delight in the holidays season is to meet your own needs.  

We fear what isn't—never what is. ~
Byron Katie

13. Sit with your sadness.

You may be depressed because of the lost or absence of a loved one. Honor your feelings and emotions. Seek the support of a friend or counselor.

Spread your heart wide open, have an attitude of gratitude and LOVE your SELF enough to receive. ~
Matthew Fry

14. Learn to receive.

Be gracious when you are offered an unexpected gift. Accept it with gratitude and appreciation. When you feel worthy of love you won’t feel obligated to reciprocate.

You cannot make someone love you. You can only make yourself someone who can be loved. ~Derek Gamba

 15. Give more than you receive.

Give what you want to receive. If you want to feel love, become loving. If you want empathy, be more understanding. If you want to be peaceful, create a peaceful environment.
 

Savor the moments you have with your loved ones. Celebrate!

For last minute shoppers: 50 Ways to Simplify Gift Giving

{ 49 comments… add one }

  • Jay Schryer December 21, 2010, 8:41 pm

    These are all great tips, Tess! I think my favorite is having a “to be” list instead of a “to do” list. If I can remember to be more loving, more patient, more compassionate, and more kind, then everything else just seems to fall into place.
    .-= Jay Schryer´s last post…Thoughts on Love =-.

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 5:41 am

      Jay,
      Yes, why is it sometimes I forget and complicate things?!?

      Reply
  • Hilary December 22, 2010, 1:39 am

    Hi Tess .. how right you are .. if we get off the bandwagon – we have more time for care, compassion, gentleness and love … so essential – awareness of others’ plight. You and your family have a blessed Christmas with many memories of those rich years behind you that grew the wisdom of today .. with love and thoughts .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last post…Christmas Past and Christmas Present =-.

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 5:42 am

      Hillary,
      Oh yes all those rich years did give me some wisdom didn’t they! Have a blessed Christmas as well.

      Reply
  • Simon Hay December 22, 2010, 2:32 am

    Hi Tess. I love your list. I also like the ‘to be’ list, and it’s something I think about when I meditate. Merry Christmas to you and family :) With love.
    .-= Simon Hay ´s last post…CWSS—Episode 4 &amp Evolving Beings Article =-.

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 5:43 am

      Simon,
      That’s perfect Simon. i would expect nothing less from a healer like you. Merry Christmas to you as well.

      Reply
  • Bryce December 22, 2010, 8:23 am

    This is such an appropriate topic for me today. Two days ago my wife came home with a brand new furniture set I had told her previously I wasn’t comfortable with because it would be on credit and the furniture we had was still in decent shape. She is a strong women so she did it anyway :).

    I was pretty upset when I saw it, but it ended up helping in other ways. I learned that sometimes you just have to give up your stand on situations that make your spouse happy. We decided if we canceled cable and a few other things we could make up the money to pay it off.

    Working in a personal development world, it is hard for me to do things that fly in the face of what I teach, like getting debt for furniture, but it was something my wife really needed to make her happy.

    In the end it really doesn’t go against personal growth. Keeping the spouse happy is more important than a short term debt.

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 5:45 am

      Bryce,
      It’s compromise and you did it well. I think the key was how you gave up cable. There’s a solution to everything and you found it. Now why doesn’t that surprise me?

      Reply
  • Patti Foy December 22, 2010, 8:49 am

    Hi Tess,

    Ah, another Byron Katie fan, I see.

    Thanks for this post, it’s going to make a nice difference in my holiday! I’ve learned to do it easy, but especially took note of your #1 and #11 (which is kind of funny cuz I’ve been on a 1111 kick lately).

    I enjoy just following the flow but have forgotten about setting an intention (yes, you can do both but I find it’s best to do the intention first!) and perhaps part of my intention will be your #11, expressing gratitude.

    Thank you, really. And I will begin with gratitude to you! You’ve enriched my life ever since I “found” you a few months ago. Happy holidays and many blessings in the New Year!
    .-= Patti Foy´s last post…Timely Tidbits- Seize the Power of the Eclipses =-.

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 5:48 am

      What would we do without BK? The first book I read was 1000 names for joy. I really needed to hear how silly it was to think I knew what is right for my adult children! The way she put it made an impression I’ll never forget. She said, “How would I know what’s right for them when most of the time I don’t know what’s right for me! I can relate! However, my ego still wants to get in there and mess with them;)

      Reply
  • jonathanfigaro December 22, 2010, 8:56 am

    Another great post. Not many people can follow these wonderful guidelines. But I believe in due time, one can open there hearts and mind, and realize, they should never settle for less.

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 5:49 am

      Jonathan,
      I think we all can choose to follow these. I think some allow other things to get in the way. It’s as simple as choosing again.

      Reply
  • Peggy December 22, 2010, 10:43 am

    Dear Tess,

    The quotes are priceless (especially the ones by Byron Katie – huge fan!) and your list is, as always, INSPIRING!

    May you have a blessed Christmas, lots of love, and a wonderful time with your family making memories to last more than a lifetime!

    xo
    Peggy
    .-= Peggy´s last post…Tuesday’s Love Story =-.

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 5:51 am

      Peggy,
      You’re the best. Same to you and I’ll be thinking of you and that 18 month old grandchild delightfully enjoying it all.

      Reply
  • Leah McClellan December 22, 2010, 4:02 pm

    Wonderful tips, Tess. Even though I don’t do the Christmas thing, in general, (though I have in the past and definitely would have benefited back then if I could have read this!) I enjoyed reading these because they apply to many situations. Even just today, I set my intentions to be kind and giving to people in traffic and at the (jammed) grocery store, smiling warmly, stepping aside and letting people go ahead with carts and so on, and it feels so much better than to get all irritated by stressed-out shoppers as I have in the past (or else I avoid shopping areas!). I park a mile away (no parking spot wars for me!), take my time, go slow, enjoy the bounty of food at the grocery store (wow, when you think about it) and just…be in the moment, I guess.

    Enjoy the holiday!
    .-= Leah McClellan´s last post…Turned a Cheek Lately =-.

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 5:51 am

      Leah,
      Just a few words say it all, “You’re so wise!”

      Reply
  • Sandra Lee December 22, 2010, 4:05 pm

    Tess, This is such an important reminder: “Remember you’re only responsible for your own happiness. You don’t have to hold the world together.”

    These are powerful quotes and powerful lessons. I want to focus on #3 – being childlike! This little kid sends you a big hug!
    .-= Sandra Lee´s last post…Capture Your 2010 Life Lessons =-.

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 5:52 am

      Sandra,
      Oh yes childlike, I had to put it in there because I can be so INTENSE! xo

      Reply
  • Ande Waggener December 22, 2010, 6:35 pm

    This is a prescription for happy living, not just one for happy holidays. :) I know I’m much more content when I’m focused on a “to be” list than a “to do” list. Thanks for packing so much upbeat wisdom into one great post.
    .-= Ande Waggener´s last post…Hit The Easy Button =-.

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 5:53 am

      Ande,
      Me to, my to do list is never ending because my ego adds more and moves the finish line.

      Reply
  • Alex Blackwell December 22, 2010, 6:40 pm

    Tess, thanks for the reminder, the gift, that we are not responsible for holding the world together – sweet music to my ears.

    Merry Christmas,

    Alex

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 5:53 am

      Alex,
      Have a great time off with your wonderful family. Happy New Year!

      Reply
  • BakeR Gendron December 22, 2010, 6:50 pm

    Thanks Tess, love the reminders to slow down. A few years back, my friends and I decided instead of presents we would get together one night during the holidays and cook together. It has turned out to be the best gift of all…time together. My husband and I have only been married 13 months, but last year on our first Christmas we decided to forgo gifts. We love the decorations and music, but don’t need anymore stuff. We just enjoy each other! Really fun opening the package too! Give yourself a big hug!

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 5:55 am

      BakeR,
      That sounds lovely! Yes I’ve given away most of my stuff. I certainly don’t want more…but fun with friends, I’m all for that!

      Reply
  • jan December 22, 2010, 7:15 pm

    I will try. Christmas stresses me out. I will keep these points in mind. No promises but I will try.

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 5:57 am

      Jan,
      Try? As a therapist I don’t like that word. You can do it. I’m wondering what holds you back. Breathe, relax and let go. I care about you!

      Reply
  • Little Lessons Under the Big Sky December 22, 2010, 7:42 pm

    AHHHH…Thank you Tess!

    This really is perfect….the quotes, the tips, and the timing. Thanks for the gentle reminder. I have felt frazzled today, and now am ready to adopt the attitude of
    JUST BE AND FEEL FREE:)

    xo
    Jen
    .-= Little Lessons Under the Big Sky´s last post…What child is this =-.

    Reply
  • Angela Artemis December 22, 2010, 9:26 pm

    Hi Tess,
    Thanks for all the wonderful advice. I’d love to do Christmas differently – but my family is not on board. I crave a fun and festive day that doesn’t center on eating and sitting around a table.

    I hope your day is terrific and filled with love. It certainly sounds as if it will be.
    I hope the new year brings you everything you desire too!
    .-= Angela Artemis´s last post…Love is The Greatest Gift – A Holiday Message =-.

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 6:00 am

      Angela,
      I know where you’re coming from. My girls hated it when I quit putting up a tree about 11 years ago. So I went and bought a table top North Folk pine. They laughed. I didn’t care and my grandchildren were less upset than they were. In fact they didn’t care at all. They think I’m a little weird but that’s OK. I just never got into cooking much so they get that;) I’ll come over and we’ll take a walk after dinner;)

      Reply
  • Betsy at Zen Mama December 22, 2010, 10:12 pm

    Just love your list Tess! I was trying to comment on a favorite but couldn’t … they’re all great. Plus I love the quotes. Have a wonderful holiday!!

    Reply
    • Tess December 23, 2010, 6:01 am

      Betsy,
      Thank you, it’s always fun to find and share quotes. Happy Holidays.

      Reply
  • Aileen December 23, 2010, 1:57 am

    Tess, thank you for this brilliant, wise & loving post! You have 15 real ways to truly be merry rather than stressed or scroogy – under indulge, drop your story, express gratitude, ask for help – you give a recipe for a truly wonderful holiday!

    Hope your heart and mind is full of only warm love and joy this Holiday.

    Reply
  • Tess December 23, 2010, 6:02 am

    Aileen,
    Thanks Aileen. I hope you get some rest and relaxation after your dancing. I also hope you have the story and photos on your blog. I didn’t miss it did I?

    Reply
    • Aileen December 23, 2010, 11:59 pm

      :) you didn’t miss it Tess, I’m gathering photos and should have it together (and posted) in a few days. :)

      Reply
  • Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord December 23, 2010, 6:25 am

    Oh Tess, I do love your lists. You’re a powerhouse with them and they’re always filled with such great nuggets. This year, I’m doing the holidays differently in two notable ways:
    1. I’m not keeping track of gifts given or received. If I feel compelled to give, I do. If not, I don’t.
    2. I’m not “watching what I spend,” in the sense of worry or fear. I know that I’m infinitely wealthy per this glorious universe we live in, so what I give away will come back, and then some!
    3. I’m choosing to spend Christmas with my friends who are like family this year. I usually spend it with family, but my heart said, “Do it differently.” I’m so glad I am! I’ve been really relaxed all week and happily looking toward the holiday.

    Sending big love your way! Great photo, by the way, and even better quotes!
    .-= Megan “JoyGirl!” Bord´s last post…The Blessings of Each New Moment =-.

    Reply
    • Tess December 24, 2010, 9:43 am

      Megan,
      Yeah for you! I love your new ways of celebrating. And I second how blessed we are. I couldn’t resist the photo. I don’t have many and that one is so darn cute:)
      Of course I am their mother! xoxo

      Reply
  • Marnie December 23, 2010, 10:47 am

    Thanks to blogs like yours, this is the first Christmas I don’t feel stressed! Maybe I’m forgetting something ;)

    Reply
    • Tess December 24, 2010, 9:44 am

      Hi Marnie,
      Thanks for stopping by and I agree what would we do without our wonderful blogs that give us direction and hope! Be merry.

      Reply
  • Karl Staib - Work Happy Now December 23, 2010, 2:53 pm

    Too often we forget about what makes us truly happy during the holiday season. We forget the simple joys such as gratitude, hiking and just being with family. You are lucky to live in Arizona where hiking is fun instead of bone chilling.

    Reply
    • Tess December 24, 2010, 9:45 am

      Hi Karl,
      Yes simple joys. I know I’m lucky or blessed to be in AZ where the sun shines 90% of the time. Be merry, my friend and happy 2011.

      Reply
  • Patty - Why Not Start Now? December 23, 2010, 7:53 pm

    Such wise words, Tess. I love my simple holidays. Once I tried it, I never wanted to go back. And here’s something I love to do each year that reinforces it: go see “A Christmas Carol” at ACT in San Francisco. What better way to remember how to un-Scrooge than by watching or reading Dicken’s classic story? I wish for you and your family the sweetest, most peaceful holidays ever.
    .-= Patty – Why Not Start Now?´s last post…Celebrating Myself Home With An Art Journal =-.

    Reply
    • Tess December 24, 2010, 9:46 am

      Patty,
      You are wonderful and I’m grateful we’ve met in the sea of blogs out there. Love and peace to you. xo

      Reply
  • Karen December 24, 2010, 8:25 am

    Hi Tess,

    Wonderful wisdom :-)

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

    All the best for 2011,
    Karen
    .-= Karen´s last post…Have A Meaningful And Happy Christmas =-.

    Reply
    • Tess December 24, 2010, 9:49 am

      Karen,
      Same to you and thank you for all your support this year!

      Reply
  • Peggy Nolan December 24, 2010, 9:18 am

    Merry Christmas Tess!!

    xo
    Peggy
    .-= Peggy Nolan´s last post…Thursday &amp Friday Love Stories =-.

    Reply
  • Tess December 24, 2010, 9:46 am

    Peggy,
    Same back at you!

    Reply
  • Farouk December 25, 2010, 2:39 am

    great post tess, i love point number 3, i want to think like a child even for a day :)

    Reply
  • Andrea DeBell - britetalk December 25, 2010, 9:31 am

    Hi Tess! I love this quote: “What internal environment are you creating? Look at the world, that’s it exactly.” It’s very profound a something to reflect on this holiday season. What kind of world am I creating with my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about my reality? How can I change my experience of it?
    I used a lot of the items you listed when I redesigned my family Christmas this holiday season.
    Thanks for this beautiful reminder. May you and your family have a blessed holiday season!
    .-= Andrea DeBell – britetalk´s last post…The Unique Joys of a Simplified Christmas =-.

    Reply
  • arina nikitina December 29, 2010, 6:50 pm

    Great ideas, Tess! Makes me proud of myself for sticking to over half of the list even before the holidays mood set in amongst us! LOL! Still, I gotta get that “become childlike” experience. When with kids, I tend to be a grownup even if I do have fun with them. Does reading them a Christmas story to get them to sleep before Christmas eve count? LOL!

    Anyways, Happy new year Tess! May it be very productive, prosperous and peaceful for you, and your readers as well!
    .-= arina nikitina´s last post…If You Could Possess an Extraordinary Talent in One of the Arts- What Would You Like It to Be =-.

    Reply

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