There is a Buddhist saying, “no expectations, no disappointments.”  If you embrace this motto for the holidays, and just focus your energy on relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends, then you actually stand a great chance of having a merry and bright Christmas.

I’ll admit that it took me a long time to appreciate the wisdom in having zero expectations, but something I did take to heart a long time ago was my godfather’s advice when he said, “we are 80% responsible for our own happiness, and only 20% is dependent on external factors.” While we can certainly argue about the actual percentages, the real point is beautifully simple: don’t let outside factors (including people) play such a huge role in your ability to have a good time.  Although we cannot control what others say or do, how we respond is totally within our control.

Over the next few days, find your happy place by thinking about all the good things that happened this year, and if you are struggling with that, well then hit up other people around you for some good stories that will lift your spirits. Whenever you need a break for all the togetherness, just politely excuse yourself from all the commotion and be ready to entertain yourself either by baking cookies, going for a walk or run while listening to a mix of your favorite songs, or just queue up some movies and download a good book to read. Limit your exposure to any negative energy, and recharge by filling your heart with all the love you can.

The past few years, after I found my dad and reconciled with my mom (who thankfully has come to accept that I need him in my life), I have really have shifted away from whatever gifts we may find under the tree, and instead am more focused on creating experiences that my son and I can share with my family.  Hopefully, you too can just appreciate some quality time you with those you love, and if there’s something you really want and no one gets it for you this year, just go online afterwards and get it yourself.

Remember, it is completely up to you to have a merry and bright time this Christmas.  Make the most of the time you have with others, for that is actually the most limited commodity, and it’s the best gift of all.


By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.