I wonder how much of our holiday discontent results from having too little idea about what we want at this time of year. Our inner seven year olds still want the perfect gift from Santa; our practical adult selves say that "Christmas is for the kids" or that "we don't really need anything." Since the two can't get along in one mind (and one body!), it is hardly surprising that we often find it hard to get along with others.
At the same time, we all have some perfect holiday memories. . . memories that tell us what we really want at Christmas, how we really want to welcome the New Year. As you allow those memories to enter into your awareness now, you can notice what catches your attention. . . notice whether you are indoors or outdoors. . . the lights and the colours. . . the smells. . . the sounds. . . notice who is with you and what you are doing. . . then allow yourself to notice the particular set of physical sensations that represent this in your body memory. . . notice that you would recognize this set of sensations when they occurred in a new context.
With all this information, now make a choice about what you can replicate this year. If your most special holiday was spent on the beach and you can't afford a holiday this season, what can you do here to create that same pattern of sensations? Is what you want most the sensation of a wonderful holiday moment or the trimmings: the foods you would not eat at any other time that nonetheless mean "holiday" to you, the lights on the houses or the tree or candle light or fire light, the sound of a busy mall or jazz played softly or dance music at a party. . .
If you have been blessed, you will remember a particular quality of connection with another person or a group of people. . . connections are never entirely within our control and yet surprising things happen when we unite our conscious and unconscious resources to form a particular quality of connection. Surprise yourself this year.