Two weeks from today is Christmas, are you ready? I’m guessing each of us has a different answer and there’s no right or wrong. What I might encourage is not to forget the reason for the season and what kind of messages we are sending to our families. I enjoy some of the hustle and bustle, as there are just move activities to choose from this time of year. Community concerts, school programs and activities and faith based events are all added to the extra tasks of shopping, decorating, baking, and planning for meals or traveling. But, it also might be a good time to revisit some of the things we’ve “always done” and see if there are things that need to change. What are the things you look forward to doing? What are the things you procrastinate on?
Sometimes I just need the following reminders; maybe they will help you as well:
Set realistic expectations. No holiday celebration is perfect. Review the family budget and talk about what is feasible and what isn’t. Children really want time with their parents and activities to create memories, not just gifts under the tree. Baking cookies, making presents, ornaments or gift wrap are all things to help them enjoy the spirit of the season and not focus on the gifts. Look for friends and neighbors who might appreciate some extra attention or help.
Remember that even though we spend several weeks getting ready, the holiday season is only a small portion of the year. Keep things in perspective by letting things go that are out of your control and focusing on the things that you can do. Look for activities in the community to participate in to make the season special without adding to the budget. Remember that what you don’t get done, others will probably never notice, give yourself a break and don’t stress over a long list.
Talk to your family and remember what’s important. Where we spend our time and money conveys to our family where our priorities are. Commercialism can overshadow the true sentiment of the holiday season, but in a few days the thrill of the gifts are gone, but they will remember the special events or activities they participated in.
Don’t forget to take time for yourself. You may feel pressured to be everything to everyone. Remember that you’re only one person and can only accomplish certain things. Reflect on aspects of your life that give you joy; go for a long walk; visit with friends; listen to your favorite music or read a new book. Give yourself permission to prioritize and let go without guilt. Take this opportunity to absorb the season by being mindful. That is defined by “Actively noticing the present. What we're thinking, feeling, and doing without judgement or reaction.”
Notice the little things that make your heart smile this season and reflect on them when you need a positive reminder. Being mindful is a way to put life on “pause” for a moment to absorb the sights sounds and smells around you.
As the season approaches, take time to enjoy the simple pleasures around you and share the joy with others.