3 ideas for a peaceful and happy Christmas

by Catherine Rickwood

This year I’ve come to Perth to celebrate Christmas with family. It’s been a few years. Often it’s stressful as I’m a bit of a perfectionist, a foodie and enjoy creating the magic of Christmas for my children.  This year I wanted to do all of this without the stress. For celebration preparations to be more peaceful. So far, so good. It’s been fun and relaxing, and this is why.

First of all, I’ve let go of perfection. Second, I’ve let things happen without trying to manage the whole process. It’s not all happening as it might have done had we been at my place, but do you know what? It’s still great. Thirdly, I’ve worked on my attitude by taking this approach using the AGE acronym.

The 3 ideas

1.   Acceptance.

I’ve grown up hearing and knowing, intellectually, that we’re all different. Of course I know this. The problem is that when things aren’t happening or being done as I would like I have difficulty accepting the ‘other way’. I can also have a tendency to get frustrated with people for no apparent reason other than they’re probably different to me. Not this Christmas. Inspired by friends who care for their ageing parents and partners with health issues, I’ve made a huge effort to go with the flow. What a difference just this one shift has made. I’m enjoying everyone (yes, including my family) and everything that’s been happening whilst I’m over here far more than previously.

2.   Gratitude.

Maybe it’s me getting older.  Maybe it’s seeing my mother and stepfather and noticing how they’re ageing. Maybe it’s because my children are older (teenagers) and there’s a chance that there’ll be a Christmas in the not too distant future when they may be somewhere else and not with me. Maybe it’s because it’s been a few years since we’ve been with extended family for Christmas and there’ll be up to 15 of us for Christmas lunch. Whatever the reason, I’m grateful to be here with family and that my brothers are making the effort to come to my Mum’s in Mandurah from Perth for Christmas day. I haven’t saved all my gratitude for Christmas day though. It’s been great being at Mum’s and I’m grateful for the efforts she’s made to have us here. My husband and I were even able to sneak away for one night to celebrate our wedding anniversary in Fremantle! A rare treat for which we were both enormously grateful.

3.   Ease.

Because it’s Christmas and because we don’t celebrate with my family and extended family every year I’ve simply wanted our time in W.A. to be easeful. That’s not easy. It has meant that I’ve bitten my tongue on occasions, choosing silence rather than right. I haven’t planned our lives down to the last minute. In fact, we haven’t had any fixed plans except for Christmas Day and our first night in Perth with my brother and sister-in-law and my nephews. The result? We’ve managed to spend time with family and extended family doing fun things, often arranged the day before. And, I’ve only written one blog piece a week and been significantly less active on Twitter.

Have I got it right all the time? Of course not. I have given it a good go though and based on how I’m feeling – relaxed and happy – I think I’ve basically done OK.

Of course the big challenge is Christmas Day. Based on my experience to date though, I’m quietly confident on Christmas Eve that all will continue to be good tomorrow. Actually, it will be a great day.

My next post will probably be in 2016. Thank you for your support in these early days of my blog. I hope you also enjoy a peaceful and happy Christmas and New Year.

About the Author

Catherine Rickwood

An experienced researcher and business executive, Catherine's work is informed by academic knowledge and evidence to deliver practical actions with measurable outcomes. These combined skills create a powerful and useful ability to delve deep on issues, ask incisive questions, think laterally, and bring knowledge and insights to individuals, a team, and an organisation keen to engage with, and include the over 50's as a valuable part of their business strategy.

Catherine Rickwood is solutions-focussed, working with innovative organisations keen to improve customer and employee insights and empathy to increase their success in new markets, build loyalty, and increase innovation. She does this using a co-design process that engages employees and key stakeholders to create collaborative solutions. Contact Catherine to discover how her services can support your organisation to harness the changing demographic reality.

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