The holidays. For most of us, those two words bring up a mixed bag of feelings.
Lingering over a fireplace with loved ones while drinking mulled wine. JOY!
Four party invitations for the same night. ANXIETY.
Delighting someone with the perfect gift. JOY!
Not realizing that someone has a food allergy and that ingredient is all over your menu. ANXIETY!
Well, here’s the good news. While it is impossible to have complete control over anything, it is possible to have control over your approach to the holidays which might just be the secret to keeping this year’s holiday season under control for you!
DETERMINE WHAT YOU MOST WANT TO FEEL
You know I love a word for the year. Having one simple word as a touchstone throughout the entire year serves as a powerful clarifier for me. Years ago, when I was looking for more balance, I chose wholehearted. Whenever an opportunity presented itself, I would ask myself, “Can I do this wholeheartedly from start to finish?” If there was any hesitation, I knew I had to say no.
Right now, I want you to pose this question to yourself.
How do I most want to feel this holiday season?
Whatever bubbles up most clearly, keep that word or phrase as your central tenet as you plan your holiday season.
EVALUATE WHAT YOU AND YOUR PEOPLE WANT AND CAN HANDLE
Now, it is time to do some reflecting. Take a few minutes to answer these questions:
- What do you and your love ones most value about the holiday season?
- What did you and your loved ones love about last year’s holiday season and why?
- What did not work for you or your loved ones and why?
- What special considerations do you need to keep in mind this year?
- What do you (all) want to be doing more of this holiday season? What do you (all) want to be doing less of this holiday season?
Now that you have a sense of what’s important to you; it’s important to get a sense of what’s coming at you. What are the traditional events/experiences that normally take place? This could include church services, gift exchanges, parties, volunteering, and more.
Given your evaluation process, make some decision about which of those events/ experiences would allow this holiday season to be the embodiment of what you most want. What seems like a really good fit for your family this year given where everyone is and the feeling you most want to have? What seems like a bad fit for your family this year?
Next, mark your calendar with everything so that you have a full picture when opportunities present themselves. And every single time, you are greeted with an opportunity, ask yourself if it will give you what you most desire this holiday season.
DON’T FORGET TO TAKE CARE OF YOU.
You started strong and intentionally and we don’t want your good will to diminish so much that, by December 7th, you are willing January 2nd here with more fervor than a kid with a wish list. So, sit down and schedule in plenty of spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental self-care on your calendar (just like an appointment) to sustain you through the month! And having it on your calendar isn’t enough—you have to hold yourself to it. Getting in one more round of shopping will not make you feel better than that nap, massage, workout, time with girlfriends that you had scheduled. Self-care for the holiday win, always.
As with everything, intention can make all the difference when it comes to how we approach the holiday season. If we are deliberate about getting quiet and noticing what it is we most want to have in our lives, we can create it. Here’s to creating a holiday season that fills your heart with gladness!
ONE FINAL NOTE: you can also have your family member complete these questions and share their answers so that all of you can be aware of each other’s needs and desires and incorporate those into planning and decision making.