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Monthly Archives: December 2010

‘Tis the Season: Christmas Vacation

‘Tis the Season…National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

The holidays can be a time of celebration and good cheer, spending time with family and friends, enjoying eggnog, laughter, and possibly a bit of chaos. It can also be a time of high energy and strong emotions. We plan for the events themselves but not how we are going to experience this magnificent time of year.

After many years of letting the holidays happen to me I adjusted my approach to create more of what I wanted to experience. I have incorporated that same approach into my everyday life as well, but the holidays are often a time we get out of our routines. Without being conscious of those changes in routine life can start to happen to us versus us being in the flow of life.

National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

As I thought about writing this article the movie “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation” came to mind as a great way to illustrate my points. There is not a moment in that movie in which something unexpected does not happening. It is such a mix of people, personalities and opinions. Although this movie may be an exaggeration of life we all experience something similar some time in our lives.

Let’s take a look at 5 ways we can approach the holidays that will allow us create deeper joy and satisfaction.

5 Ways to Create More Joy & Satisfaction

Let’s take a look at 5 ways we can approach the holidays that will allow us create deeper joy and satisfaction.


Clark Griswold has a vision of his house lit up with thousands of lights.

Vision is having a picture in your mind of what you want to create. It allows us to think things through and to plan ahead, not only the logistics but also how we will take care of ourselves in the process (e.g., plenty of rejuvenation time).

After having created a vision, it is also important to let go, to allow that vision to unfold in it’s own way. See Flow and Control below.


Ellen and Clark Griswold discuss having both of their parents come to stay at their house for the holidays. Ellen tries to tell Clark how bad it could be to have everyone there…Clark does not want to hear it.

Having a vision is good start, having realistic expectations allows us to keep a semblance of perspective. Expectations are equally or perhaps even more important when our plans involve others. Letting others know what to expect provides them with an opportunity prepare appropriately.

If you remember this scene, an important part of creating a vision and setting expectations with others is listening to the feedback you might receive.

Flow and Control

After Clark Griswold spends hours over several days trying to get the house covered with lights he cannot get the lights to come on. In a fit of rage Clark begins kicking and tearing apart the Santa and reindeer set he has in the front lawn.

One of the fasted ways to lose our cool is to determine that events have to unfold a certain way. Life is organic. As much as we plan, life will unfold in it’s own way. A vision and our intention are important, it can improve our odds of creating what we want, but life will unfold as it does and we cannot control it. By going with the flow of life we can adjust to the way it is and continue making the decision that will lead in the direction we want to go.

I have found laughter and playfulness to be great avenues for shifting my perspective when I am caught in a need to control events or other individuals in my life.

Time Out

After many unexpected events (e.g., getting a year membership in the jelly of the month club from his job instead of a bonus, inlaws continued arguing, cousin showing up, tree burning down) Clark has a breakdown. On his weigh to cutting down a tree in the lawn he decides to "fix" the loose stair post – by cutting it off with the chain saw!

Even if your life is not as eventful as Clark Griswold there are times we all need to stop and rejuvenate ourselves. When we have a lot going on during the holidays it is easy to get caught up without considering our personal need for down time.

There are many ways to take a time out. It could be a couple of minutes of conscious breathing, exercising, time with a friend or family member, a nap etc. It does not have to be extreme or time consuming, it is what works for you.

Changing Your Mind

At first Clark is enraged at his boss feeling like a victim to his decision not to give a bonus. When Clark's cousin drags his boss into his house Clark has a choice between staying angry about his situation or taking ownership of the mess he had created. Taking ownership of his feelings and expressing himself in a constructive way earned him a bonus +20%.

We all make plans and conscious or even unconscious commitments, it is one of the ways we create what we want in our life. Most of the time we may be able to fulfill those plans and commitments, but there are times that things change because life is not static. Our life is not static, future events are not static and our feelings are not static.

Giving ourselves the option of changing our mind provides us the flexibility we need to honor our wants and needs, allowing us to flow with life versus trying to control life.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!