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On Being Our Best

Image by Jose Diaz Ortiz.

Image by Jose Diaz Ortiz.

 

At the holidays, we try to be our best. We dust off our fancy red dresses and glittery Santa hats, we clean off our makeup brushes and poof our hair to its heights. And for good reason. During the holidays, we see everyone we know. Or, at least, most years. (When we travel to far-off lands to avoid the holiday hustle and bustle, as my family has been known to do, it’s another story).

But for those of us who usually go home to friends and family during the holidays — or live in places where friends and family come to us — the holiday season is a time where we are seen. By the aforementioned friends and family, and also my an ever-expanding list of long-lost relatives, other people’s long-relatives, coworkers, other people’s coworkers, church-goers, party-goers, and Santa’s elves. And, when we’re being seen, we like to be on our best behavior, after all.

And this doesn’t just apply to us. I’m likely not the only one who has recommended a particular outfit for a sometimes-clueless husband or an always-clueless minor to wear to a particular event. (No matter if it’s a Christmas Eve church service or an ugly sweater party.) We want us all to be our best, and we work hard to that aim.

Obviously our holiday attire is just the tip of the iceberg. During the holidays we don’t just dress better, but we try to bake better, smile better, make better cocktail party banter, and just be better, in general.

But it’s a funny thing that we do all this, and work so hard, and spend so much time being our best, for only a few weeks a year. After all, wouldn’t it be great to be this way all year long?

Yes! Of course we would. But is it realistic. Can we be on top of our game 52 weeks a year? Although one reality is that our holiday best might just not be sustainable, another reality is that we can all work better to be a bit more like our holiday best all year long. Indeed, there are steps we can take to make it a bit more of a reality, even when New Year’s Resolutions lose their January luster.

This year, when you’re full up with the excitement of December, sit and think about the three best things you present during this time. The three best things you exude to the world – be it your hospitality, your charm, your wit, your winning smile, your knack for logistical wrangling, or your baked goods – and dedicate yourself to trying to bring these into your life throughout the year.

After all, if we’re at our best in the cold depths of December, it’s not a far stretch to say that we can one day be at our best in the bright sun of June.

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