Christmas is not my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving is.  I don’t have anything against Christmas but I do think it is an opportunity to talk about managing expectations.

Some have said “expectation is the mother of disappointment”.  Google goes a step further to explain “Dopamine is released as soon as humans anticipate a reward, and the physiological sense of discomfort felt when confronted with disappointing news is a result of the sudden dopamine drop.”

Managing expectations is key to a happy life.  If we go into anything with our expectations too high we will almost certainly have a less than expected outcome and therefore a feeling of disappointment (see Google above).

So I guess my apprehension about Christmas is that in this day and age the expectations for Christmas are just too high.  If we aren’t careful we can get caught up in wanting the perfect gift, perfect outfit or sweater, feeling the need to throw the perfect party or be invited to the perfect party.  Gifting is supposed to be a selfless act, not a stressful act where we feel the need to compete to be crowed the best by our peers.

Now I have removed most of these impulses long ago, thankfully, but I do remember them nonetheless.  I do believe that the expectation that Christmas is supposed to the greatest time of the year when everything is perfect has led to disappointment and ultimately withdrawal to a certain extent.  I have not given or asked for a Christmas gift in years and I’m just happy that way.  I have often been quoted as saying, holidays feel like forced jubilation.  Instead I feel whatever emotion comes naturally, regardless of the time of year.

The holidays to me are about focusing on time spent with friends and family, the material processions just don’t do it for me anymore.  There’s my 2 cents.