I recently attended a holiday dinner party where the host encouraged her guests to share their favorite part of the holiday season. One guest talked about her childhood memories and how she still decorates her home the same way her grandmother did so many years ago. Another person went on to talk about his neighborhood volunteer project, and how everyone comes together to help others in need. The conversation was lively and fluid, until…a successful businessman stopped everyone in their tracks by saying what he looks forward to most during the holiday season is Christmas afternoon when he can take all the decorations down and get back to business as usual. The blunt comment changed the tone of the entire table, not to mention the impression of those that formerly admired him as a friendly, upbeat conversationalist.
Here are my tips on making the most of the season, from the holiday office party to, more importantly, time with your loved ones:
Choose your words carefully. At a holiday dinner or a business event, what you say is a direct reflection of who you are and how you view the world. Most people don’t gravitate towards a rigid, stiff, glass half empty kind of person. Speak with intention and show respect for those around you, especially your friends and family members at the holiday dinner table. Your manners shouldn’t take a vacation as the year winds down!
There’s more to life than taking down decorations. Rather than thinking about what you plan to do in 3 weeks, or 6 months, enjoy the moment you are living in today. While it’s prudent to look ahead and plan accordingly, it’s also important to enjoy the moments along the way. Participate in the ugly sweater contest with your coworkers and put on that holiday playlist you know your loved ones will enjoy.
Build relationships with those that don’t affect your bottom line. You know something about impressing your clients, vendors, board members, supervisors and employees. Apply those skills to your children, family and friends. There is great value in strong workplace relationships, but be careful not to overlook the importance of creating traditions and making memories at home. Play in the snow with your kids, watch a holiday movie complete with cocoa and cookies with your spouse, surprise a neighbor and shovel the snow from their walkway. You will feel like a new (and refreshed) person, which will give you new energy in your day-to-day routine.
Enjoy the tree and eat the cookies. Rather than dampening the spirit of the holiday season with your own version of Mr. Scrooge, make a point to find moments that are uplifting and positive. At a dinner party, the host of the event invited you because he or she felt you had something significant to add to the conversation. It’s your job to be a dazzling conversationalist; brush up on your holiday etiquette and be an approachable guest. Comment on the host’s beautiful tree and his or her excellent choice of menu and dessert. Ask your table mates about their lives and come up with something positive to add to the conversation. You never know, you may start to enjoy the holidays more than you think!