As I mentioned last week, this Christmas season has been a struggle for me. The chaos of dealing with the aftermath of our house flooding has made our usual Christmas traditions a bust.
The vast majority of our possessions are stuck in storage for at least another month and a half during the reconstruction to fix the damage. We have no place to put decorations (even outdoor decorations would be in the way of crews carrying drywall stacks and scaffolding pieces up the walk). And I haven’t had the time or energy to do more than the minimum.
I know I’m not alone. We all struggle sometimes.
Yet we all also succeed as well. Not everything in our life, family, job, or writing goes wrong for us all the time. *smile* So this time of year is also perfect for focusing on where we succeeded, what we’re proud of, or what we’ve accomplished.
How Can We Focus on Successes?
I’ve mentioned before the trick of looking at our lives through the lens of Christmas letters. You know, those letters people stuff in Christmas or holiday cards to catch family and friends up on their doings of the past year? You’ve probably seen (or written) a Christmas letter at some point in time.
Thinking of what you accomplished this year? Here's a trick to focus on the positive... Click To TweetChristmas letters are well-known for providing a “perfect” glimpse of a family’s life. The adults in the Christmas letters never argue about money or leaving the toilet seat up. The kids never show disrespect to their parents. And the pets never piddle on the carpet.
In short, Christmas letters are all about putting our best face forward for others. Everyone knows they’re not quite real, and in some ways, they deserve the teasing and rolled eyes. Yet they can also be a good exercise in reminding ourselves of all the good things that happened during the year.
Sometimes the bad things rise into our memory more easily. Too easily.
But if we concentrate on the good things, summarizing what we’re proud of, what we’ve accomplished, what warmed our hearts or felt special, we force ourselves to see our successes. That end-of-year review can be good for us and our mental health.
As writers, we suffer from self-doubt too often, and something that helps us see our writing and struggles in a more positive light couldn’t hurt. We might even feel like we’ve had more positives than negatives this year. And that thought might keep us warm during the dark nights of our soul. *smile*
My Christmas Success
For Christmas, we typically make several hundred cookies to hand out to family, friends, and neighbors, but with the flood’s effect on our kitchen, we weren’t sure we’d be able to make any cookies. As I shared last week, rather than give up our tradition, my family was determined to do our best to continue our cookie-baking extravaganza.
We stuck with bar cookies in a nod to our limited space. Even so, in the midst of the baking flurry this past weekend, pans of cooling cookies were stacked 3 high while waiting to be cut.
But our final tally? 726 cookies—right in line with our usual crazy-high numbers. *grin*
That just goes to show that while we can’t do everything on our to-do list, if we’re careful with our priorities and reaching out for help, we often can succeed more than we think. And now my brother’s family will get this container of cookies tomorrow in lieu of a store-bought gift that I never had time to go shopping for.
This year we made Fudge Oatmeal Bars, Chocolate Fudge, and Chocolate Bark (which we sprayed silver and gold), Butterscotch Bars, and Cinnamon Bars. *passes around platefuls of virtual cookies* Here, take as many as you want—I made plenty.
If you’re celebrating this week, I hope your plans all unfold smoothly, your travels all go safely, your family members all behave perfectly, and all your dreams for the New Year come true.
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not,
I wish you all the best during this season.
Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah—heck, Happy Everything!
And take some cookies… Please! *smile*
Have you thought about your year’s accomplishments or successes? Do you struggle to recognize your successes? Have you ever written a Christmas letter? Do you think that approach can help us focus on the good stuff in our lives? Do you have thoughts or advice of how we can recognize our accomplishments?Pin It