Simplify the Holidays

I know, it’s only the beginning of fall. So why am I writing about the holiday season already? Because now is your chance to pause and think about your vision for the holidays. Without some guidance, your evenings and weekends can quickly become full of events and commitments. You may thrive on the busyness of the holiday season. However, many of us long to balance the joy of parties, dinners, and activities with some quieter time with close family and friends. You might even desire time just to be alone as we enter into the winter season. Here are 5 tips to help you have a conscious holiday season.
1. What’s your vision?
Stop for a few minutes, sit quietly, and consider what your ideal holiday season would look like. You may think of a word, an activity, a person, or a feeling. That is all fine. In some way document your vision – write it down, find a picture that represents your dream, post a poem that speaks to you – and keep that close to you. Knowing what you would like is the first step to making it a reality. For me, I usually picture candlelight. I try to light candles at the beginning and end of the days throughout the holiday season and enjoy the mood and sense of softness that they create.
2. Add something that moves you toward your vision.
Commit to one thing that will fit your holiday ideal. Maybe you already know something that fits the bill. If not, do a little research. Put this on the calendar NOW. For example, I am planning to attend a candlelit holiday sing-a-long with my family this year (see my candlelight connection there!).
3. Subtract something that moves you away from your vision.
Commit to NOT do one thing that is not in alignment with your holiday ideal. Maybe you don’t like shopping at the mall so you decide to only shop online, make gifts, or buy from independent shops. Maybe you feel like you need to attend every party you are invited to even though you would like more quiet time at home. With social events, a simple “I so appreciate the offer but we won’t be able to join you this time” is completely sufficient. Choose one thing that you did in past years that you don’t want to do again, and don’t do it.
4. Make it up.
If your holiday celebrations are already fairly set (this frequently happens when we plan holidays with extended family or large groups), make up your own holiday and do it your way. You can begin a Winter Solstice celebration with a quiet night walk and takeout, or a pajama day on any Saturday you choose.
5. Remember practice makes progress, not perfection.
It’s OK if the changes you make are small. It’s a beginning, and you can always build on them next year. Notice how you feel when you choose to spend your time in alignment with your holiday vision, and use that good feeling to inspire the next change.
Let me be the first to wish you a joyous, peaceful holiday season!