Do all you do with a joyful focus!
Here's what I mean. Shopping: Shift your focus from any anxiety of looking and deciding and long lines to the joy of the recipient receiving your gift. Consciously notice the smiles on the people around you. Be even more conscious of sharing one of yours with everyone you meet. Make a list before you leave. You'll feel more organized when you know what you're looking for, even if it's not specific (ex. something for the kitchen). Shopping Alternative: Feeling a strain on your budget? Select only those people that you WANT to give to, and/or consider giving to an organization. If you could easily spend $100 on random gifts for others, think of the joy that $100 could bring to an organization that you appreciate or a cause you support. What do you do if you receive a gift but have none in return?! Say your most heartfelt thank you. Don't apologize and don't take this moment away from them. Let them be the giver. It's okay to be a receiver, besides, you're already giving in other ways. ;-) Dinner: Spending time with people you would rather avoid? Maybe it's just one person that is full of the scrooge. Focus on everyone else! Don't give so much power to the people who tend to bring you down. Engage with those you appreciate. Change the subject. Pose a question that makes the conversation brighter (ex. what's the one thing you love about this time of year?). Help keep the conversation light. Mingle! Invitations: Feel free to decline graciously. You don't need a reason. Offer to meet in the new year (when things settle down). Worried about hurt feelings? People will feel what they want to feel. Consider this: If you always go when you'd rather not, then why do you always make their wishes and feelings more important than yours? I'm not talking about selfishness or the occasional compromise. I'm talking about a habit that may need to be broken, a pattern that needs to change. I'm talking about self-care. Shift your focus from the potential/possible/imaginary discomfort that may come from your decision and dwell on the delight of another choice. Shift from frazzled to fabulous, in any situation, by becoming more aware of the joy around you. It's there! You simply have to be willing to see, hear, feel, or sense it. You have to be willing to choose. =)