Holidays can be crazy times. The weeks leading up to it can be a frenzy of additional things to do on top of already busy schedules. Yet, no matter what holidays you celebrate this time of year, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, or simply celebrating the turning of the year, the whole point is for it to be meaningful. The real reason for the season is deep meaning and connection with yourself and others.
With that in mind, here are 5 ways you can make this holiday season more meaningful (and frankly more enjoyable) for you and those you love.
1) Tone Down the “Stuff”
Much of the holiday stress has to do with stuff. What do I buy as a gift? How much food do I need? Just how many dozen cookies do we need for our dinner? What about all the lights? The tree? The inflatable snowman? With each question and to-do your stress level rises.
You don’t have to give up all the “stuff”, just tone it down a bit. In an economic year that has many scraping the bottom of the piggy bank, there is no real point to causing you more grief by starting 2010 deep in debt because of twinkling lights and trinkets. Take a deep breath and remember that what matters most is showing up – for yourself and others and being yourself. It has little to do with any particular “thing” and certainly has even less to do with a price tag.
2) Work in Down Time
Paradoxically your holiday will be more meaningful if you selectively choose the activities you do rather than trying to do it all. Who hasn’t rushed to get to the holidays, hit them like a brick wall, ran hither and yon, and then arrived at the New Year like a tattered old toy? This year vow to create some down time in your plans. It can be a little or a lot…just make sure it includes time for you to take a deep breath, relax, and drink in the moment. Believe me; it’ll be gone before you know it.
3) Make Choices that Serve You
The holidays are the perfect and socially acceptable excuse to make choices you’ll regret later – that 5th martini, the multiple heaping plates of food, and cookies till the cows come home. I know I sound like a billboard but choose responsibly. Indulge, of course! What is life if you can’t enjoy it? Just do so in moderation so you don’t use unconscious choices made in December to beat yourself up with for the next three months.
4) Choose Experiences Over Things
A glut of material stuff is what the holidays can easily become, at least in the United States. My rule for living, and not just at holiday time, is to choose to have an experience rather than a thing. That means creating a life and not a lifestyle. You can’t take your stuff with you but you can always carry the experiences you have and person you’ve become with you on your journey. People don’t remember what you get for them or the things you own, they remember how you make them feel and who you really are.
5) BE – With Yourself and Others
Make the radical decision to be present with yourself and others this holiday. Drop the multi-tasking and spend time truly listening to one another. Enjoy the way your special someone smiles or moves. Savor a hug from your Mom and Dad or other ones you hold dear. Hold yourself with the same love and affection. Drink it all in because in the end you’ll reap far more dividends from being present and enjoying the moments you have together than any other thing you can do.
With that – I leave you to disconnect from the myriad of to-do and wish you a wonderful few weeks!