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Debrief Your Holiday in 3 Easy Steps




When the last wine glass has been washed and dried and the chocolate crumbs vacuumed from the carpet, it’s time to . . . rest.


Yes, first rest.


Then it’s time to get to some essential mental work: debrief your holiday.


Evaluate your experience to see what went right and what could be done better next time.


This practice of a postmortem—looking at an event and learning all the lessons possible—is what we do year-round whenever our eating didn’t go according to plan.


It’s the only way to learn from our behaviors and it’s the best way to cultivate a non-judgmental attitude toward our slip-ups.


By asking, “what can I learn and change so this doesn’t happen again?”, we shape our future to get more of what we want and less of what we don’t.


Using this process to evaluate our Holiday Experience allows us to remember and appreciate the good while retaining our power to acknowledge and change the bad.


Here’s the 3 Easy Steps:


Step 1: Ask questions


What can I learn about this year’s Christmas?


Was I away too long?

How was it having guests at the house?


Who did I love spending time with?

Who will I not spend time with next holiday?


Should Uncle Bob sit next to someone else next year?

Maybe he should not be invited at all? Or be included in a different way?


How was my spending on gifts this year?

Which gifts could I skip next year? Or downsize?


Which dishes were a hit and which not so much?

How many desserts were really needed?

Could I give away more leftovers? Make less food?


Was alcohol an issue?

Were appetizers? Desserts? Which ones specifically?




Step 2: Evaluate the answers


Once you’ve thought through all the important aspects of the events, pick out the specific changes that you can make to improve next year’s experience.


For example:

  1. Only have Christmas Eve dinner at my house next year
  2. Take Aunt Betty to lunch the week before Christmas
  3. Reserve one whole day for baking AND wrapping, so I’m not exposed to the cookies as long
  4. Limit my alcohol at parties to 2 glasses of wine




Step 3: Write them in your calendar


This is such an important step!


Write them in your electronic calendar for December 15th next year (or whichever date in December makes the most sense).


Create an “event”, you could even attach an alarm to it, that reminds you what to do and what not to do to make next year’s holiday even better.


Putting your “must do” changes in your calendar for next year will give you the best chance of remembering the things that will create a more peaceful and joyous holiday.



If you do this each year, think of what a wonderful holiday you’ll be crafting year by year!

Happier holidays for all!



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