If you’re like most, the thought of the upcoming holidays fills you with equal parts of excitement and dread!
After more than a year of lockdown, restriction and confinement, who doesn’t relish the idea of family get-togethers, friends, parties, decorations and presents?
But let’s be honest: there’s a part of you that stresses out…so much to prepare, to buy, to decorate, to bake, to wrap…you name it! Do you find the hustle and bustle exhausting?
Would you prefer a lower key yet fully meaningful celebration?
Let’s take five and think about how we can plan for a peaceful holiday season without losing our composure. Consider incorporating the following four practices into your holiday routine.
After all, regardless of your religious or spiritual beliefs, it’s a sacred time to focus on what matters most….to you and what you truly value!
1. Say "No" to Pinterest Perfectionism
It’s so easy to want everything to be just right.
From the tree and the home decorations to the presents and the menu. It seems there’s an expectation for each and every facet to be perfect. Or else it falls short.
But why does it have to be one or the other?
There’s nothing wrong with having a realistic vision of your gatherings.
So what if the tree is a little crooked? Who cares if your hand towels don’t sport holiday motifs?
If family and friend time is what matters more to you, then allow yourself to keep things casual. When you plan for the comfort of your guests instead of the fancy wow of your decor, you’ll be less tense.
In fact, as you haul out your holiday decor, consider paring down your collection.
This would be an ideal time to approach your adult children about selecting which items they would love to receive for their own home.
Just remember: if they say no, don’t take it personally. Their taste may be different. Or they may truly want to keep their own decor on the minimalist side, as well. Part of a peaceful holiday season means accepting others’ personal preferences, too!
When you retain only your favorites, your set up and take down routine will be much easier—less time consuming. And every item will be sure to bring joy when they’re displayed.
People may compliment a well coordinated theme. But the genuine fellowship is what they will remember with a smile, long after the party has ended.
Circle back to this post for more ways to cut yourself some slack: How Perfectionism Holds Us Back From Clutter Free Living
2. Prepare for Retail Hype
Oh, my: We barely said goodbye to Halloween and now the Pre-Black Friday sales are in full swing!
Not to mention it always starts well ahead of Thanksgiving. Even the radio stations and streaming music channels have started up with the 24-7 holiday music. Poor Thanksgiving has become the red-headed stepchild of holidays.
It’s dizzying how persuasive the ads and promotions can be. Not only should we buy the perfect gifts for family and friends. We are supposed to treat ourselves, too. Half-off, BOGO, Close-out, Clearance….the various sales go on and on…and on!
No wonder January is a sobering month when the bills come due! It’s a financial month of reckoning, to be sure. Not exactly how we’d want to start a new year, right?
How about shunning the retail siren to over-buy?
Start by carving out dedicated time to create your shopping list. Decide who’s on it and what you’d like to gift them.
One of my favorite suggestions (and not just for the hard-to-buy) is to give experiences instead of things. Perhaps a family outing of some sort?
It can range from a simple night at the movies or an Escape The Room night, all the way to a weekend cruise…you choose!
Talk about making memories that will last a lifetime. If you plan this correctly, you may just succeed in avoiding the mall altogether!
And with the unending supply chain snafus, how about considering gift certificates for a massage, a facial or a pedicure?
Of course, there will always be the iconic present we received as a child… a beloved doll, a shiny bike or a pretty necklace. Yet if you think back over your adult years, what stands out more: the gifts or the memories?
What if we plan for the holidays with a focus on “presence” rather than “presents”? Wouldn’t that take a load off our shoulders?
3. Diffuse Family Drama
Gathering with the clan over the years during the holidays can be really good. Or really awful.
If you’ve experienced both or something in between, think about what the conversation was about.
Was the focus on what you were thankful for or what you appreciated in each other? That was likely the positive memory. But if the dialogue veered towards old wounds, unmet expectations or pointed criticisms…yeah, that was a downer.
So what if you prepare for this year’s get together with an upbeat attitude?
How about staying with the present fellowship rather than detouring to past offenses? How about gently redirecting the conversation towards neutral ground when it detours negatively?
When we look for the value that each family member brings to the table, our holiday celebration can be joyful and loving. Save the points of contention for another day, when the issue can be discussed rationally and fairly.
People don’t change just because we tell them to!
Instead, plan to enjoy the finer qualities of your family. Imagine how this can be a peaceful holiday season you look back on with love.
4. Pause for Reflection
End of the year holidays provide a timely segue to plan for the New Year and all the hope it can bring.
Taking time to evaluate how this year unfolded for you has value. Sometimes the regret we have for how we handled (or didn’t handle) things can weigh on us. It makes it difficult to enjoy the holidays when we have nagging guilt or disappointment. Even if we skip this step, those unresolved feelings will continue to hover below the surface until we eventually address them.
But what if we plan for dedicated reflection time about our year without judgment? In other words, what if we are willing to acknowledge our weaknesses and not just applaud our accomplishments?
There’s no reason to beat ourselves up for our shortcomings. Instead, we can be gentle with ourselves (and others) while appreciating where we are at now.
This prior post can kickstart your 2022 New Year’s planning: Declutter and Downsize: Lay the Groundwork for Really Remarkable Results in 2021!
Remember: We are human and we make mistakes. We don’t always take the best course of action or follow through with our goals.
But consider each and every year as a building block towards the next.
In the end, our journey is always on-going. Embrace each twist and turn along the way!
Take time to plan for a serene and heartfelt holiday season.
- Don’t let retailers or unrealistic standards dictate how you choose to celebrate
- Take control by deciding where you can avoid excess materialism
- Cut back on the drama by focusing on your family and friends, not the decorations and presents
- Review your year without judgment and look forward to a fresh new year
- Breathe! Enjoy a peaceful holiday season
Related Topics & Resources to Explore
- Ready to wean yourself from excessive “retail therapy”? How will you minimize the spending hype?
- What is one of your most memorable peaceful holiday season practices?
- Do you have family members or friends who won’t understand or accept your wish for simplicity? How will you handle that?