The holidays have arrived and are here in full force. We all want this season to be a special one. We want the warm, fuzzy mood that Christmas evoked in our childhood. We want the comforting feeling of hot cocoa on a cold winter’s day, the whimsy of houses lined with twinkle lights, and the genuine joy that comes with the conversation and laughter of friends around the table. This magical season only comes once a year. We want it in its fullest.
However, for many of us, the reality of the holiday season doesn’t quite live up to the ideal. While we truly want it to be a memorable time the stress, hectic schedules and high expectations can eventually take their toll on us. Where we often set out to be a Tiny Tim, we can find that we’ve really turned into an Ebenezer Scrooge, scoffing “Bah humbug!” rather than soaking up the charm and nostalgia of the season.
No one sets out to have a stressed bah humbug kind of holiday, but the demands of the season have a way of robbing us of its meaningfulness that we so want and deserve. How can we keep this from happening?
Creative Gift Giving
We have all felt the pressure that comes with shopping for our friends and families, let alone the headache that comes with multiple trips to the mall. This year, what would it look like to think creatively about your gift giving? There is nothing quite like finding that perfect gift for someone, but that doesn’t mean you have to fight the crowds and break the bank to give it. Go handmade! Craft, sew, write letters, or bake. Making something with your hands is one of the most meaningful ways to give a gift, because by doing so you are giving little pieces of yourself, your time and your energy to the receiver. Prepare a home cooked meal or give the gift of quality time and experiences together. Sometimes the best, most memorable gifts are not necessarily tangible but they’re special because they’ve come from the heart.
Making something with your hands is one of the most meaningful ways to give a gift, because by doing so you are giving little pieces of yourself, your time and your energy to the receiver.
Be Intentional with Your Schedule
Chances are your December calendar is filing up and doing so quickly. This is a season of celebration and because of that there will be a plethora of gatherings and parties asking for the pleasure of your attendance. While you want to do everything, be everywhere and see everyone during this time, remember it’s also okay to say no. Instead of trying to do it all, be intentional about the way you spend your holiday time. Choose to attend only the parties, events or gatherings that mean the most to you. Give yourself permission to slow down and stay in with a cozy blanket, a crackling fire and your favorite Christmas movie once in a while.
…be intentional about the way you spend your holiday time.
Be Fully Present
However you plan to spend the holiday season, lean into every moment and be fully present for each delightful experience. This season comes and goes so quickly, before you know it it’ll be January 2nd and we’ll all be wondering where the time went. You want the holidays to be memorable and lasting, so rather than getting overwhelmed with to-do lists and tasks, enjoy the day before you to the fullest. Do something that you loved to do as a child — build a gingerbread house or go outside and make a snowman. Put on your favorite album and take your time decorating the tree.
Do something that you loved to do as a child…
Resist the urge to rush through the holidays and instead fill them with genuine joy, meaning and magic. Give yourself permission to leave the gifts unwrapped for a little bit longer and understand that you may not make it to every party or have the time to perfectly decorate every cookie that you bake. If you find yourself wanting to say, “Bah Humbug!” at times, take that as a sign to slow down and enjoy the moment. This season only comes around once a year. Let’s enjoy it to its depth and soak up every cozy, sparkly, lovely holiday memory.
Image via Mackenzie Rouse