The December Social Contract (& How to Bring the Magic of the Holidays with You Into January)Dec 14, 2022
The holiday season fascinates me.
It’s not because of the beautiful twinkling lights everywhere or the magic in the air. It’s not the anticipation of gifts or the joyful holiday music.
It’s that in December, we as a society collectively agree to shift our priorities toward kindness, giving, and joy. And even amidst the rush and stress of the shopping, the year-end reviews, and the marathon of gift wrapping, people still find time to enjoy themselves.
We have Christmas parties to go to, the excitement of gift exchanges, dressing up, making the house super cozy with decorations, New Year’s Eve to look forward to…
Even decorating the tree is a glorious family activity that in other times would be considered a colossal chore.
(Can you imagine taking the Christmas tree out of context and telling your family any other time of year that you have to go pick out a tree in the freezing cold, fumble your way into the house with it, string a ton of lights on, and add decorations? It sounds bonkers when you put it that way!)
We cram more fun into the month of December than we do all year, in spite of all of the extra stuff we add to our to do lists.
It’s amazing. For one month of the year, we choose to collectively embrace different priorities and look at things differently.
And yet the rest of the year, even as we have less crammed into our schedules, we forget that we can build time in for joy, and we forget that we can choose to be happy.
We default right back to our usual state of feeling overstretched, under appreciated, and like there’s no time for ourselves or to create excitement in our lives.
But just look at how easily we shift into a completely different mode around Christmastime.
It’s the only time of the year that it’s acceptable to be more absent from work. I mean, business doesn’t know what time of year it is, but because it’s time to be with family, things are a bit more lax than usual.
It’s incredible. It fascinates me.
And it just goes to show us all how powerful we are when we simply shift our perspectives and choose to prioritize joy.
So, how can we capture this beyond New Year’s Day?
- Think about what you’re prioritizing during the holidays, and what’s falling on the back burner because it’s just not as important right now. Can this always be deprioritized? Can it stay toward the bottom of the list of things to manage? If December shows us anything clearly, it’s that priorities can be changed, and they’re a choice.
- Keep the spirit of giving, gratitude, and generosity with you. It’s so easy when the holiday magic in the air dies to slip back into the rat race and feel isolated, pressure, and like we’re not getting enough support. But if you maintain your positive spirit, it will actually make falling back into the daily routine feel less arduous.
- Remember to make room for joy in your schedule. December isn’t the only time of the year to let go and enjoy yourself. Leave space in your weekly schedule for some fun, whether it be a gathering with friends, a date night, or time spent on a hobby you love.
Even though the social contract of December doesn’t last all year, you can take pieces of it with you to make your life a little more enjoyable for the other 11 months.
Which one will you take with you into January? Let us know in the comments below!