Charlie Brown: “I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.”
Linus Van Pelt: “Charlie Brown, you’re the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem. Maybe Lucy’s right. Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest.”
Okay, let’s admit it, we’ve all been Charlie Brown when it comes to decorating for Christmas.
Decorating for the holidays. Seriously? You’re going to make it your Alamo? This is the hill you’re going to die on? They make movies out of these kinds of fights. The spouse wants a big tree with lights, camera and action. You don’t want the fuss or later mess to clean up. So you decide to make this you line in the sand, the “this far and no farther” conversation. Really?
Decorating disagreements are usually the purview of husbands and wives. Sometimes, moms and dads can go at it with the kids who, especially as they grow older, don’t want to participate.
I was talking with a colleague in the office the other day about the Alamo…uh, I mean decorating. “Oh, yeah, that happened last weekend with me,” he said. I’m like, “Oh yeah, it happens with all of us.” So much emotion, so little thought.
Some of us can have strong emotions about holiday decorating. That’s because memory is a powerful influence this time of year. For you, it might be a begrudging trip to get a Christmas tree. For your kids, it might be a story they’ll talk about for the rest of their lives at the holidays. What you decide to do is not nearly as important as how you make the decision. Is it a discussion or is it a decree? Is it all emotion and no rational thought? Who is it for and what is it for? You choose. Well, you and whoever it is who wants you to move the furniture again this year.
Good news. You get to choose how you’re going to step onto this hill. Never forget: Between stimulus and response, there’s a space called choice. This Christmas, you don’t have be a Charlie Brown.
[Linus knocks on an aluminum Christmas tree, which gives a metallic “clank”]
Linus Van Pelt: “This really brings Christmas close to a person.”
Charlie Brown: [gazes in amazement] “Fantastic.”
–Dr. Kevin Gilliland, for the team at Innovation 360