While the holidays can be a joyous time of the year, they can often increase stress for many people. How do we enjoy a meaningful holiday season, rather than trying to meet other people’s or society’s expectations? Take some time to envision your holidays and what is most important to you. Every family has their own ideas of what creates the best holiday season. Below are six suggestions that can help in your mission to balance your holiday season.
Honor traditions that continue to be enjoyable for you and your loved ones.
Whether attending a religious service, caroling or taking a drive to look at the holiday lights, do your best to maintain family traditions. There is nothing better than looking forward to something special each year to share with family and friends.
Be kind and helpful to others.
How can you be of service and make someone’s life a little easier and more joy filled? Is there somewhere you can volunteer your time? How about sharing your Christmas cookies with an elderly neighbor who lives alone? Picking out a gift to deliver to a charity is another example of making the holidays better for a family in need.
Keep your sense of humor.
Recognize that not everything goes according to your plan. Mishaps like burning the homemade fudge or your Christmas tree tipping over in your house are part of life. Laughter is the best medicine sometimes no matter what season you’re in. After all, mishaps can create great memories!
Establish a new tradition this year.
In addition to keeping the best of the old, usher in some new activities. Invite new friends to a holiday meal. Host a cookie exchange with a few friends. However, make sure you recognize your personal rhythms and preferences. Keep in mind not to go so far out of your comfort zone that you end up elevating your stress level.
Ask for help.
Know your limits and be realistic about what you can and cannot accomplish. Prioritize your time so you don’t feel like tasks take over your whole holiday. Let others share the responsibilities, such as cleaning, decorating or cooking for a holiday party. Family and friends often feel happy to be included in the preparations when asked to join in.
Focus on people and relationships.
The holidays are a time for being together. Relax, sit down and enjoy time with those people who are important and truly matter to you. Work on reestablishing harmony by accepting family members and friends as they are. Remember the holidays are a tough time for some, while others truly embrace all it has to offer. Try and make your genuine and compassionate presence your gift to others this holiday season!
May your holidays sparkle with moments of love, laughter and goodwill,
And may the year ahead be full of contentment and joy.
Sally, Tom and the Staff at Sojourn