Episode 231: December 30, 2012
Events & Holidays
by Richie Frieman
The holidays are the best time of year. Nice people become even nicer, rude people become less rude, and I never pay full price for anything because there are bigger sales every hour. So cheers to that! The holiday season is like steroids for your spirit that make you want to be a better "you," give back to others, extend a helping a hand, and make that smile on your face last longer than a politicians' during election time.
However, something happens to people around the second week in January, when there is no more time off, no more celebration, and those credit card bills start to arrive. "Oh right, that $500 toaster I bought because I had to have it…yeah, now I have to actually pay for it."
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As well, that sense of friendship and love for all mankind seems to go out the window after we come down from the holiday spirit. That guy in your office who was always a jerk but for all of December was Mr. Personality? What happened to him? Oh, that's right, the holiday season has ended and so has his effort in being a nice person.
Why is this? I get not being happy-go-lucky all year round, let's be realistic, but if you go from zero to 100 during the holiday time, why do you have to fall right back down to zero? Why can't some people settle at like 50…or heck, 40 at least? So with that, check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for properly handling the letdown after the holidays:
Tip #1: Don't Stop Believing!
Remember that Journey song, "Don't stop believing…Hold on to that feeeeeeeling!"?
Well I couldn't agree more. I miss that mantra, that song, that…feeling. But sadly, here's the reality of life after the holidays: people won't be as nice, you won't get to see that extended family as much, sales are still there but never as good, and overall there is less "love for all mankind" floating around. It's inevitable. But why do we allow ourselves to let the negative aspects of life that we suffer through all year creep back upon us, after such an amazing time the past few weeks? That coworker who was super kind throughout December becomes the Grinch come January. That polite store clerk who gave out candies in a nice decorative dish last month, now doesn't even let you take a penny from the "give a penny, take a penny" jar. Man, oh man, where has the magic of holiday spirit gone?
I have a solution: Flip the switch on the real world and don't let go of that excitement…that feeeeeling. I'm not saying we have to always get along with everyone, but why is it that some people go right back to acting like jerks? Why do you lose touch with your family members that you only see a few times a year after having such a good time with them?
I recommend using this time to come out of your shell if you are someone who's been locked up in their "rude" persona and make a change. As well, if you show the possibility for being a compassionate person during the holidays, why not keep it? It will take you much farther for sure. And okay, so maybe the store clerk doesn't have to keep a dish filled with pretty chocolates out all the time, but people notice when you have the ability to be generous and then take it back seasonally.
Tip #2: Prep For Next Year
So what if you didn't have as good a year as the “Gangham Style” guy? You still had fun, right? You still met new people, did something out of your box, and even extended an extra hand to someone during the holidays. But now, it's back to "reality" and you think that the Holiday Season 2013 is too far away so why waste your energy trying to get in the mood, right? You'll just wait until November-ish or so and then pep right back up. No, no, no!
I have a friend who tries his hardest to impress everyone in his office every holiday season. He buys snacks to leave on his desk for people to take, he makes cards for everyone, and even offers to buy coffee for a coworker from time to time. He had a record of four years where each year he kept upping the ante on how much holiday spirit he could manufacture. He had a running list of people to reach out to and even how much he was going to spend. Then one year a random coworker huffed at him for not getting a holiday card, when everyone else in the group did. He felt terrible! After all, he was on the ball for so long. But even though this slight blow to his ego would have crushed other people, my friend used this as fuel to prepare better for next year.
Not everyone is like my friend and you don't have to be. But, there is something to be said about getting into the holiday cheer and wanting to make that feeling of doing good, become even greater. That’s why planning on how you will express your holiday spirit for the next season can really save you a lot of trouble. Think of what you missed and figure out how you can make up for it.
Take note of what you wished you would have done or who you wished you reached out to and make it a mission to do so come next November, when all the holiday cheer kicks in. This way, you are less stressed, more prepared, and ,more willing to extend your kindness since the stress of worry is now a lot less than having to rush around next year. The holiday seasons are a time to show your true self, your heart and your compassion for those around you, so use the down time after the holidays to start to think about what you will do next. It's never too early to plan.
Tip #3: Throw a New New Year's Party
Who says you can only have fun and party like the holidays, during the holidays? There is no rule to that. Sure, it may be whacky to have a New Year's party in the third week of January but it's not whacky to throw a party in general. Now, I'm not saying you need to deck the halls and make hot cocoa in mid-January, but I am saying that you do not need to put celebrating as whole on hold just because Hallmark says there is nothing to celebrate right now. And for the record, Hallmark always has a reason for you to celebrate. The time after the holidays is rough because you're getting back to the day-to-day grind with nothing fun or exciting to look forward to. However, if you try, you can find something to get excited about and allow that letdown of holiday season ending not be as devastating on your psyche.
I had a boss one year who dedicated one day of each month to celebrating something. Whether it was birthdays for that month, the team going to the playoffs, or just So-And-So's kid getting into college, there was always a reason to get excited. And why not? What's the harm in that? If anything it's good for morale, plus a great excuse to try out the Domestic CEO’s recipe for Salsa Verde Pork. The point my old boss was trying to make was that just because the holidays are over, it does not mean we have to stop acting as kind as we did.
Sure, it's January and nothing but snowstorms happens, but his monthly celebrations were a reminder of that holiday cheer we held onto. And it worked! We planned for the events – especially if it was a surprise party – and all came together as a team. Now that’s something to cheer about.
Do you have a great story about how you properly dealt with the after holiday crash? Post all the details in the comment section below or on the Modern Manners Guy Facebook page.
As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.