While the holiday season has the potential to be a time of peace, celebration and joy oftentimes it is anything but – instead we feel overwhelmed, frazzled and drained. The following five tips will help put you on the path to creating a happy and harmonious holiday season where you may experience peace in your home and in yourself.
1. Simplify. Sit down and make a list of all your holiday traditions, such as decorating the house, cooking special meals, hosting or attending holiday parties, etc. Write down all the activities you have spent time doing in the past and all things you would like to do this year.
Next, go through your list and circle your favorite traditions. Circle things that truly excite you — not what is expected from you or things you feel you “should” do. What is the “ideal” holiday for you? What do you want to make sure you have time to do so that you feel you have thoroughly celebrated the holiday? You might be surprised to find that many of the things you spend a good deal of time and money doing are not even at the top of your list. Maybe your favorite parts of the holiday are relaxing at home, going to the movies, or taking time to stroll around town and enjoy the decorations. Or perhaps you like large parties with friends, shopping for presents, making cookies, and big family meals? Your body will help guide you toward your authentic desires — if you feel your stomach clench at the idea of hosting a dinner for twelve, perhaps this is something to reconsider. Circle only the activities that bring you true joy.
Now ask all the people who are essential to your holiday (such as your partner or if they’re old enough, your children) to do the same exercise. People who are essential to your holiday include those loved ones that you genuinely want to see happy because giving to them also feels like giving to yourself, so you may also choose to ask close friends or relatives to write a list. Compare lists and see what clearly comes through as important to your holiday family. You may be surprised how much you have in common. If your children are older, you might find they are tired of gift giving and would prefer to spend money on a special family vacation. Or perhaps the gingerbread house you spent many flustered hours creating and thought had so much meaning to your family, no longer does. Create a new list with everyone’s circled items.
Next, look for ways to simplify the things on the resulting list. Most likely there will be some differences in priorities. For example, your partner may have decided he loves a big holiday dinner, but cooking this meal is last on your list. If the big holiday dinner is important, then see if you can re-create it. Find out what it is about the big holiday dinner that appeals to your partner? If he enjoys the company, but you don’t like to cook then perhaps you could go to a restaurant this year? Or if entertaining at home and decorating the table is important, then maybe you can cater the dinner or ask everyone to bring a dish or put your partner and children in charge of cooking? Keep working this process until you have come up with a holiday plan that excites everyone involved and yet still feels manageable.
2. Set Intentions. In addition to your list of activities, create a list of the most important feelings or “inner qualities” you would like to experience during your holiday such as gratitude, peace, joy or love. Combine these qualities with your holiday plan in the form of affirmations. For example, “I am filled with gratitude as I enjoy our holiday meal.” By writing down your series of written affirmations you are sending a powerful message to the universe that will manifest with grace.
3. Enjoy the process. Focus on your state-of-being during the time you are preparing for the traditions you selected, as much as during the actual tradition. It is more important to be relaxed and happy as you prepare an almost perfect meal, than it is to be stressed or bad-tempered before you serve your picture perfect meal. Keep in mind the inner qualities on your list. If peace is an important quality to you, find peace even amidst the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers by taking a moment to appreciate the store decorations or taking a break from your errands for a cup of coffee. Let the weeks leading up to your celebrations be filled with as much joy and happiness as the actual celebration.
4. Give to yourself. Perhaps the greatest gift you can give to yourself is to treat yourself with love and compassion. Often we expect others to change or treat us differently without first changing ourselves or treating ourselves differently. Let how you care for yourself during the holiday season be a precursor to how you will live in the New Year and how you will expect others to behave toward you. Let go of perfectionism and adopt a gentle, loving and forgiving relationship with yourself. If you treat yourself with love and kindness these same qualities will be reflected back to you from others.
5. Believe. Celebrate the magic of the holidays. If you have children, it is a wonderful opportunity to re-live the fantasies of the holidays through their experiences. This is the time to believe in miracles and all possibilities. Have faith in yourself, your family and the world.
If you like this blog, you may like:
Preparing for the Holidays: Simplify Your Home
Preparing for the Holidays: Simplify Your Holiday Traditions
Preparing for the Holidays: Simplify Your Holiday Meal
Preparing for the Holidays: Simplify Your Gift Giving