Here we go! It’s that time of the year. The holidays can bring a combo of excitement mixed with a touch (or a large dose) of overwhelm. So how can we plan more to enjoy the holiday season?
You may be reading this and thinking, “Why bother? I need to keep my head down and power my way through! There’s no time to think of my feelings right now.”
That’s a false assumption we can have at times.
In truth, your state of being is important! Especially during this time.
Because like the Christmas tree is the center of your home during the holidays, your emotional energy creates a setpoint for everyone around you.
So as I write this (researching to help myself through it, too), I’m still very much a work in process. And I’m pulling all my resources so that I (and you) can conjure the most fulfilling holiday season possible. Why? Because we all deserve it!
Here are some thoughts and strategies to get you started:
1. Envision how you’d like to see the holidays unfold.
“Begin with the end in mind.” – Steven Covey.
How can you get there if you don’t have a road map and know where you’re going? Take a few minutes to think about how you’d like everything to go.
Tonya Leigh of The School of Self-Image often says, “Who do you want to be, and how do you want to feel?”
Some years, you may be in the mood for a relaxing, stay-at-home, minimalist holiday. While other years you may feel like doing it big, bright, and glittery.
We can take a moment to create a mental template of what we’d love to happen. And we can add, “If you could describe this holiday season in three words, what would they be?”
I’d like to feel relaxed, content, and fulfilled. I want this season to be cozy, exciting, and (feel more) organized.
The good news is that we can determine how we want to experience the holiday season. We get to choose.
Then try getting even more specific. How do you see Christmas Eve unfolding? Do you want to start new traditions and play new games? Would you like to have an open house and invite neighbors over?
Is there something else you’d like to do on Christmas morning to start the day? Like waking up early for a 20-minute meditation? Or setting up a specialty coffee station first thing in the morning?
There are endless ways you can experience the magic of the holiday season. Be open to creative inspiration. And begin to put your vision into motion.
2. Create a checklist (your best friend through this holiday season).
“The future belongs to those who prepare for it.” – Anonymous.
Now that you have a plan organizing your project with lists is helpful. I don’t love lists. Yet, I’ve regretted it when I’ve resisted using them to organize and plan.
Sometimes I lose track and don’t realize that someone’s gift has arrived. Or at the last minute, I realize that I need to order that one item for my mother-in-law online.
I’m not a super-organized person, so I need a checklist during the holidays. I recently discovered Trello, and I’m obsessed. I created holiday boards, including lists of gifts, people to buy for, what to buy, etc. It’s fantastic.
Trello has a checklist feature that allows me to create an item on the list and check the box when it has arrived.
I’m also using it for dinner planning, holiday organization, and keeping that holiday spirit going too.
3. Keep your self-care routine.
“Be enough for yourself first the rest of the world can wait.” – Anonymous.
Even if you have to get up earlier, try committing more to your self-care routine. Your positive, uplifting energy is the greatest gift you can give to loved ones.
Here are some ideas for extra self-care (and peace and joy!) if you are looking to add something new this season:
- Morning routine – click here to improve your mornings now and into the new year.
- Morning pages – write your way to a great day by writing morning pages.
- Gratitude practices – click here to discover more ways to bring gratitude practices into your daily life.
- Meditation – check out these powerful meditations. Now is a great time to commit to a practice!
4. Enjoy the holiday season by strategizing your giving plan.
“Soulful giving enlarges your capacity to be more caring – you give for the joy of it, expecting nothing in return.” – Judith Orloff, M.D.
When you’re organized, you can find time to enjoy selecting unique and special items for your family and friends.
Several years ago, I became friends with a woman named Michelle. She would choose one full day every year and make it a fun shopping day. I loved this idea.
She taught me to think of shopping as a super fun holiday experience. Choose one day. Start it off with your favorite coffee, and then hit the stores.
We spend holidays in the Boston area, and I love shopping along Newbury Street, looking for unique items. After a full day (in proper Michelle form), reward yourself with a holiday cocktail! It’s so fun to be inspired by all the window displays.
I find online shopping less exciting, but I make it more enjoyable by designating time (I use a timer) and listening to music while searching for that perfect item.
Infuse giving with the energy of joy.
You can also take time to donate to a charity of your choice. Take a look at four charities that have the mission of empowering women here.
“The more you celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” – Oprah Winfrey.
Celebration comes in many forms.
Whether it’s in your holiday decor, festive parties, gathering with friends, or long luxurious baths. The holidays can be a great time to acknowledge and celebrate the blessings in your life.
Underlying celebration is the energy of joy. Abraham Hicks says, “It’s not just that your purpose is joy, it is that you are a joy. You are love and joy and freedom and clarity expressing.” Enjoy the holiday season – it’s what you’re meant to do.
Adopt a celebratory, fun-filled, festive mindset, and see what happens!
My New Year’s Eve surprise plan:
I felt pretty dreadful as one New Year’s Eve (2011) approached. My daughter was still young and traveling to Saskatchewan, Canada, every other Christmas. And I was heading to Toronto to meet her halfway.
As the date approached, I thought, “This is so terrible! I will be alone in Toronto on New Year’s Eve!”
I booked a room at a 5-star hotel as a treat. On the drive there, I told myself, “I’m going to make this a memorable day – no matter what!” I felt happy and excited to enjoy an evening in this fabulous hotel when I arrived.
On check-in, the concierge said, “Hello! Welcome! We have a surprise – we’ve upgraded you to the presidential suite!” It was so exciting.
Then, when I got settled into the suite, they sent up a tray of chocolates with strawberries.
I went out and had a fabulous dinner and then returned to my room to watch the ball drop on the television. It ended up being one of my all-time most memorable New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The positive energy flowing and the feeling of celebration made all the difference.
6. Gratitude holds the key to enjoying the holiday season.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle.
I’ve recently learned more about gratitude from the book, Attitudes of Gratitude, by M. J. Ryan. (I highly recommend it). She shares the many dimensions of gratitude that make it possible to feel grateful even when things are less than perfect.
Most importantly, she shares that gratitude is about appreciating everything as it is. It’s not about that fancy new dress or that vacation you’re planning. It’s a state of thankfulness for the good and challenging things that have made you who you are.
Take the time to think about where you are today and where you were five years ago. There is so much to be grateful for. So much that you’ve overcome.
It all mattered, it was necessary, and everything has contributed to where you are right now.
Bonus – Be good to yourself (Enjoy the holiday season for YOU).
“Life becomes beautiful when you learn to be as good to yourself as you are to others.” – Anonymous.
The holidays can be challenging. Every year it’s different.
And the expectations might be overwhelming. Try to remember it’s one day and one season. Reach for the good.
Trust in the process. Know that you are loved and never alone. Give yourself lots of love.
Now, grab a hot chocolate and some kleenex, and watch “Love, Actually.”
And warmest wishes for a happy holiday season to you all!
Ps: Did you enjoy this article? Please share it with someone who might need it right about now!
(This story was originally published on November 28, 2021, and has been updated for thoroughness and clarity.)