Some (not so) Squirrelly Advice for Pleasant Holidays

Mixed Nuts
What do you think about when you think about squirrels?  Ravaged bird feeders?  Acrobatic acts?  Rabies?  The park?  Nuts?  Well, yes, nuts.  That also comes to mind when I think about the December holidays.

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Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

Not just the type of nuts we eat — like roasted chestnuts, walnuts on that sumptuous apple pie, or honey coated peanuts in the snack dish, but nuts as in gathering frantically like a squirrel, and nuts as in foolishly excessive holiday behaviors.   It’s a bountiful season for sure, but will it fill us up or leave us feeling exhausted, robbed and empty?

Filling Up More than Stockings
Each of us can choose to step back and celebrate in simpler, more meaningful ways.  You can create a holiday celebration of choice and one that enriches, rather than depletes, you or loved ones — physically, emotionally, and financially.  Take time to think about what Christmas really means to you.

  • Is it that important to try and create the perfect Christmas of yesterday, or a happier one now?  If so, dig deeper and ask yourself why.
  • Will taking on additional activities amidst an already crammed schedule affect your ability to give others your undivided, in-the-moment attention…or leave you feeling distracted, tired and resentful?
  • Is it worth it to over-spend, searching for an ideal gift when expectations and disappointments often cancel out efforts of holiday goodwill?
  • Are your actions obligatory or from the heart?  Compulsory sentiments and gifts noticeably lack holiday cheer for both the giver and receiver.
  • Will you honor your self-care with adequate rest, nutritious foods, exercise, asking for help, and being financially responsible?  Or will you set yourself up to sour your holiday mood?

Do your actions make sense?  Do they seem a little nuts to you?  Be honest.

Enlist Creativity
If you own a bird feeder, you’ve witnessed a squirrel’s analytical creativity accessing it — including those supposedly “squirrel proof” feeders.  Be as innovative.

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Photo by Anthony Intraversato on Unsplash

If others are involved, ask each person to select the one thing about the holidays that makes their heart sing.  Avoid the inner critic’s beleaguering to add just one more thing then another because you’ll be right back to the overload you tried to lighten.  Determine what is absolutely necessary then sew those pieces together to broaden smiling faces around a more joyful holiday.   You may be pleasantly surprised to discover it’s not a holiday of lack but one of overflowing abundance from the spirit within.


Apply Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh‘s sentiment to the holidays… “Once you identify your deepest intention, you have a chance to be true to yourself, to celebrate the kind of holiday you’d like to have, and to be the kind of person you’d like to be.”


Trudging through Tradition
Several years ago I happily exchanged some traditional activities for what means most to me.  Quieter gatherings, tuning in to nature and the gifts she generously offers day in and out, gladden my spirit.  (This is not to say I don’t host or attend holiday parties.  But I keep them manageable, not falling prey to Madison Avenue’s message that I must decorate my house with a thousand lights, bake cookies, and overextend my bank account purchasing lavish gifts.)

A friend, looking frazzled and slumped in her chair, told me yesterday how overwhelmed she felt filling out 300 Christmas cards!  Three hundred cards?  Who wouldn’t feel overwhelmed?  But, was it really necessary?  It’s important to connect with others and tell them how much they mean to us but if it adds a layer of stress it doesn’t make sense to me — it’s nuts.

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Photo by remi-skatulski on Unsplash

All in a Nutshell
Make the holidays what you want them to be and create cherished memories.  Don’t worry or fret.  Otherwise you may become like the red squirrel whose coat turned grey from stress.   🙂

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Photo by Arthur Rachbauer on Unsplash

A Language I do not Know

I do not understand the language of texting, or bar codes containing paragraphs of information.  I do not understand how people do not know how to count change, what their own phone number is, or how communication and society have morphed into a world of antonyms.

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Photo by Cheron James on Unsplash

Words such as cooperation, negotiation, impartial, conversation, politeness, and respect are no longer understood.  They have become foreign concepts in this foreign land I no longer understand.

Customer service now means self service.

A doctor visit means getting a prescription.

“Friendships” have become 1,000 or 100 strangers I don’t really know.

“Conversation” was an informal exchange of ideas but often appears as a one-sided dump.

Once upon a time a “debate” meant a public discussion of opposing arguments on a particular topic.  Today it is who can interrupt the most and shout the loudest slander.

Microwaving a prepared meal is called cooking.”

Excuse me has fallen to the wayside for immediate interruption or unacknowledged bumping into.

Here you go replaced thank you.”

Intimidating hurtful trolls lurk on “social media.

“Personal responsibility” now looks like lawsuits and blame.

Family time means individual members sitting next to each other staring into screens.

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

“Unbiased journalism” is dead.  Infomercials disguised as articles, and fake news abound.

Health care is really the health industry.

Publicservants are politicians passing legislation written by lobbyists.

Marketing is the sugar-coated word for lies.  Companies tout their products to take my money yet when I attempt to get help for the “failed product” it is usually in the Philippines, Dubai or any other place I can barely understand the instruction to fix the problem for the “inferior product” that was advertised as “the world’s best” that I now wish I hadn’t purchased.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

My telephone landline use to bring news from friends or family.  Now, I cannot answer it for fear of telemarketers and scammers breaking into my home.

The tech industry told us they were making our lives simpler, less complicated, paperless, and more convenient when in truth our lives are more complicated, more disrupted, more vulnerable and disconnected, and I pay to discard more junk mail than food or household waste.

I do not recognize what I was taught in school.  Like being an American meant I was free and there was liberty and justice for all when in actuality my government sold out my rights to self-serving corporations.

America has turned topsy-turvy, upside down into a country of antonyms.  I am native to this foreign land where nothing is as it’s purported.

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Photo by Redd Angelo on Unsplash

My dictionary indicates virtual reality is not physically existing but made by software to appear to do so.”  As far as I’m concerned it’s based on a book of antonyms.  I’m not ready to discard my dictionary and thesaurus for a new reality.  I prefer to call it what it really is while I still have the mindset to know what it really is.

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Photo by pine watt on Unsplash

Reality – “the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.”

via Daily Prompt: Foreign