Starting around Thanksgiving you can find articles, cable shows and in-store demos about Christmas recipes, decorations and parties and tips for make-up, clothes and hair–all focused on the first 25 days of December, with a few things that can hang around through New Year’s Eve. There are also an abundance of articles about Holiday Hassles, Holiday Depression, Post-Holiday Depression, Holiday Debt and Holiday Stress. December is also National Stress-Free Family Holiday Month, which is an optimistic effort by the Boy Scouts of America to counteract the rest of it by encouraging people to do a good turn daily, especially during December.
Workplaces vary too much for me to attempt (or presume) to give advice about how to avoid National Reduced Work Month. However, that is a valid concern in many businesses and organizations. Managers, supervisors and employees need to find ways to ensure that good work continues and customer, client and organizational needs are met, even though there are interruptions and increased social activities.
One of the best ways to make the month of December stress-free and hassle-free at work–and increase the fun of it for you and everyone else–is to accept it, participate in it appropriately and smile with good cheer. Don’t grumble, sigh heavily or hide in your work area to show how dedicated you are. It makes you look petty, judgmental and dull, whether that is fair or not.
- Whatever the policy is about gifts, food, decorations or parties, take part in the season in appropriate ways for you and your work.
- When people are decorating, offer to help. Admire the decorations and comment on them more then once.
Get a soda or coffee for the main decorators as a way to say thanks.
Suggest simple rather than elaborate food or parties and offer to assist.
If people are allowed to bring desk-top decorations or items for a cubicle, workspace or office, sincerely compliment the festive effect.
- If someone brings cookies or other food, eat something or take it to save for later (whether you eat it or not.) Compliment the person who went to the trouble of bringing the food.
- Offer to help take down decorations. Get a soda or coffee for those who have done the work. End the season with a thank you.
- Apply these concepts at home as well. Order delivery food on the day your family puts up decorations. Play Christmas music. Talk and act like Christmas is special, in whatever way it is special to you.
The bottom line: Don’t spend December griping about the holidays or talking about how depressing or stressful they are. The more you do that the less joy you’ll be able to find, even if it’s right in front of you. Enjoy each Christmas season from now on–and help others enjoy the holidays, too.