Archives for December 2010

How to Be Alone, Not Lonely

During a recent teleclass on handling holiday stress, we discussed ways to cope with being alone during the holidays. We recognized that while many people get stressed from the interactions and contact with family, there are others who experience stress because for various reasons they have lost family and close friends.

I just discovered the following video that gives many ideas. After years of being a widow and watching my children and grandchildren become adults, I’ve learned to treasure my alone time. If you heed the tips, you can enjoy being alone, and you won’t need to be lonely.

After you watch this video, let me know what you think.

Black Friday – Cyber Monday = Blue Christmas

crowdshoppingHave you noticed that how we spend our holidays is increasingly being decided by marketing departments?

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the kickoff of the holiday season and the busiest shopping day as well.

As its popularity has increased in the United States, it has even spread to other nations such as Canada and Australlia.

While it’s a day that retailers look forward to with visions of dollar signs dancing in their heads, it can be a gloomy day if you focus on it to the neglect of the holidays, get caught up in a frenzy that leads to incidents or even fatalities or allow it to lure you into overspending.

212 million shoppers braved the stores this past Black Friday, 17 million more than last year. Although there were relatively few reported incidents according to Security Director News, some unfortunate incidents did take place. When the doors of a Target Store in Buffalo, NY opened at 4 AM, for example, the crowd that had waited in the cold became angry when latecomers rushed to get in front of them and again someone was injured when trampled.

One neighbor told me that her niece was going to skip Thanksgiving dinner with the family to pitch a tent and camp outside of a Best Buy to be first in line for the Black Friday sale. What bargain could be worth spending hours outside a store, braving the cold (the temperature dropped to 34 in California) waiting for it to open at 5 AM?

Cyber Monday is a term coined in 2005 for the Monday following Black Friday, and is thought to be the biggest online shopping day of the holiday season. This year major stores offered a great solution to the crazed mob approach that has become common on Black Friday. Bargains were readily available online and yet many still opted for the cold weather, long lines and adrenalin rush of the Black Friday sales.

I love a bargain, like anyone else, but the Thanksgiving weekend sales that started off to offer discounts and afford good buys has become an event designed to heighten anxiety, instill a competitive spirit and feed into a sense of scarcity and limitations. The worse part is the focus on things, the least important part of holiday joy.

Each year the stores seem to open earlier, air commercials touting the urgency of being there, and hire extra personnel to prepare for the rush they’ve help create. This year some chain stores that are traditionally closed on Thanksgiving were open all day Thanksgiving.

I’m certainly in favor of stores making a living, and of course I think that getting bargains is a wonderful thing. But when we lose sight of the intended joy of the season, and succumb to the lures placed before us by marketers, it can only lead to a blue Christmas.

Just ask the family of the Long Island New York WalMart employee who was trampled to death in 2008 by 1,000’s of early morning shoppers.


You have survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now find out how to take the stress out of your holiday at my upcoming teleclass, “How to Make Your Holiday Merry, Not Scary: Stress-reducing, Sanity-saving Tips That Work Year-Round” on Tuesdy, Dec. 7 at 5:30. If you want to attend, but aren’t able to be there live, don’t worry. I will email a recording to all who register. Get details and register at