Dec. 21, 2010, Vol. 8 Issue 10
The holidays are upon us so I just wanted to write to you to say thank you to some of you for your business, to some of you for your feedback and to all of you for your friendship this year. It’s always heartwarming to hear that something you read here, or that a speaker you hired through us made a big difference in your life or the lives of those you serve.
When I saw these holiday tips from Lisa Smartt (a very funny lady), I thought, these are the kind of tips I want to share with my readers. They’re not about shopping and baking and decorating, they’re about relationships — those fragile ties with those we love, those who love us and those who drive us crazy — from a woman who takes herself and life, lightly.
Living Through the Holidays —
the Smartt Way
Lisa Smartt is a woman in search of her keys. She’s the woman who is not afraid to admit she’s messed up. She loses her keys, her patience, and even her mind (she says), from time to time. Before company comes, she runs through the house putting piles of stuff in garbage bags which will be stored in the guest bathtub until the company leaves — now there’s a BONUS tip for holiday preparations. Lisa deals with life by keeping her humor dial tuned up, even in times of difficulty. She believes we need to laugh at our differences and give each other a much-needed break. So, here are a few ideas for taking it easy on yourself this holiday season.
* Tip No. 1 – Show grace and don’t be the critical one – never say to yourself, “How could anybody …?” because we all can. Instead, Lisa suggests saying to yourself, “How can I embrace that person?”
* Tip No. 2 – Tell the truth, but don’t be rude. If you don’t want to go to your cousin’s for the holiday dinner, call and tell her you can’t work it out to come. Do not say, “We cannot work it out to come because of what happened last year.”
* Tip No. 3 – Think about being a team player. If someone asks you if you can move dinner to 4 p.m., be open to moving it, even if your original plan was for 2 p.m.
* Tip No. 4 – Do not be a grandparent or a parent vending machine. Look at your finances and decide how much you can afford to spend. “When people ask me why I don’t spend more on my children, I say, ‘Because I love them!’” Do what you can do and don’t get trapped into buying toys that will be broken or discarded in 15 minutes.
* Tip No. 5 – Ask yourself what will be remembered years from now. A holiday tradition Lisa’s mother does for her children each year is to write a letter to each child and read it in front of the family. “We may not remember what present she bought us, but we sure remember those letters,” Lisa says.
* Tip No. 6 – Grieve your losses, but refuse paralysis. Lisa encourages those facing loss this Christmas to open their home and their hearts to someone else who is hurting and celebrate the season with love regardless of the circumstances in their families.
Lisa is the author of, The Smartt View: Life, Love and Cluttered Closets. To learn more about Lisa and her speaking topics (all practical, funny and down-to-earth!), visit our website.
ALWAYS IN THE MAKING
I was at a holiday lunch last week, when the woman sitting next to me, innocently asked me if I had any holiday traditions? Without missing a beat, I answered, “It depends on what era it is.” Isn’t that the truth? Actually, it depends on what year it is, at least as I get older. This Christmas is different than last year and the one before that. When I was single and living in Michigan, and without family nearby, I used to have a few also-single girlfriends over on Christmas morning for brunch. It was really special with a white tablecloth and Aunt Mary’s fine china, and we always played Aunt Nell’s dancing ladies music boxes. It wasn’t about presents, or even the food — it was about camaraderie. It was a tradition, until I moved to Oregon. Last year I resurrected some of that tradition by re-creating it. This time the guests were different — my good friend Barbara and her husband Stan, and my husband. It was intimate and fun, in a different way, and it brought back those fond memories. Although many years were skipped, it still qualifies as a tradition in my book.
There’s another tradition I had lost touch with, and that was making lefse, a Norwegian flatbread. Actually, the tradition I let go of was eating it. I had never mastered the skill of making it — though I have all the equipment. Despite Grandma Grace’s best efforts to pass the secrets along (this is one of those recipe-less creations), memories of my mother’s first efforts — the results resembling leather — were not very encouraging. It’s also a lot of work. I don’t know what got a hold of me, but Saturday I remembered lefse and I wanted to get elbow-deep in mashed potatoes and flour. I bought a 10 pound sack of Russet potatoes at Safeway for 88 cents, and figured I didn’t have much to lose. And you know what, it turned out really, really good! It’s thin and tender — well, AFTER the first couple came off the griddle. There was something in my unhurried patience with it — a knowing when the texture was right, and when it was rolling out to just the right thickness (and when it wasn’t, to know to ball it back up and try again!). Sorry I didn’t get any pictures of me and my flour-covered apron — maybe next year. I think I may be back into this tradition … on my terms.
So, all that is to say, I wish you the flexibility to let go of those traditions that don’t serve you this year (knowing you can pick them up again when and if you’re ready), the freedom and creativity to revise them or create new ones, and the wisdom to know the difference. Until next time, take care of yourself this holiday season for your well being and those you love.
PLEASE NOTE: The information shared in this e-news is designed to help you make informed decisions about speakers and the programs they offer. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment prescribed by a doctor. If you suspect you have a medical problem, seek competent medical help.