Holidays aren’t for everyone. The idea that a society-appointed holiday will fit everyone’s needs is a little unrealistic. Valentine’s Day is a prime example of one of those conditionally loved holidays. We are on the precipice of one of the most popular holidays, so how could it possibly not be the most wonderful time of the year?
The truth is, if you really want to make a holiday season wonderful, you have to be open to some awe. The “awe factor” is what can save even the most wretched of holidays. It can come in any shape or size, arrive at any time and most conveniently, is free.
Awe is described as a “feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.”1 You might relate the feeling of awe to when you were a child. Life was less complicated as a child and feelings of awe could envelop you as quickly as the sun appearing on a cloudy day or a pop-up rain shower on the hottest day of the year. When life is less complicated, it’s easier to be open to an awe-filled situation. Grownups tend to be overly busy and forget to watch for beautiful life-changing moments.
Since our lives are filled with commitments, commutes and requirements, we usually don’t have time to look for something amazing. The holidays can be overtaken with commercialism, an overpacked schedule with little down time, difficult relatives and sometimes sadness. Some people find it easier to avoid holidays or just meet the minimum family expectations until the marked day is over.
If you fall into the category of merely surviving holidays, take this challenge before the next holiday. Christmas is a behemoth of a holiday and we’ve been looking at it since September (some stores earlier than that), so if you hate holidays, Christmas is a whopper. The challenge is to take back your sense of awe.
Instead of focusing on what’s difficult about the upcoming season, make yourself be open to some awe. Take a walk and leave your phone at home. Look around and find something beautiful. Shopping for gifts in a crowded mall? Look for someone being accommodating to someone else. Feeling depressed because of some unexpected swirling snow? Get a hot chocolate or coffee and soak it in.
Awe is up to you. No one can tell you how to feel it. There is no demanding family member, annoying co-worker or pushy salesperson who can identify awe for you. You are in complete control of whether you are open to spotting and feeling a complete sense of awe. The sense of awe can be brief, but the effects are long-lasting. Your moment, your awe.
Be willing to be blown away by something this month and you will have an awesome holiday season.