Today is December 1st and the Holiday Season is fast approaching and my family and I have all agreed that this year we are going to have a much smaller, much more minimal Christmas, and you know what? I couldn't be more excited! Christmas is a time of year when we are meant to relax, slow down, spend time with the ones we love, and have gratitude for what we already have; It is a time to look back at the year that has passed, and look forward to the year ahead, all the while being present in the moment and enjoying the here and now. Sadly often times the holidays are instead spent scrolling through Pinterest feeds and online retailers trying to find the perfect gifts, and trying to create the perfect holiday. Along the way we spend too much money, and too much time running around, and not enough time simply focusing on what matters the most: laughter, good food, and even better friends and family.
Here are some simple reminders for the Holiday Season...
1. Your presence is present enough.
2. There's nothing wrong with giving gifts, just be mindful of what you are spending, and whether or not the person you are giving the gift to will find it useful or meaningful.
3. The perfect holiday doesn't exist, so please stop looking for it. Stop looking at pictures on Pinterest, stop comparing what others are doing, and stop putting yourself down for not doing a good enough job. All you need to have a wonderful Christmas as I've mentioned above is laughter, good food, and even better people. Lights, fluff and stuff are completely secondary.
4. Take moments to pause and slow down. Take a deep breath. Savor your food. Make that sip of hot coco or tea last a little longer. Take a few moments to lie in bed before you get up.
5. Don't take pictures of everything. Sometimes I get so caught up taking pictures of the moment, that I miss the magic of the moment altogether. Set aside a time to take pictures, but otherwise just enjoy the moment as it unfolds.
6. Focus on spending time together more than buying gifts for each other; Bake cookies, go for a winter walk, go out to breakfast, play games... after all time is one of the best gifts there is to give.
7. Be kind. Hold a door open for someone. Offer to help them carry their bags to the car. Smile at strangers. We all have our own stories, and the Holiday Season isn't easy or happy for everyone. Little random acts of kindness can go a long way especially at this time of year.
8. Give back to those less fortunate. Donate toys to a local toy drive, sponsor a family, volunteer at a local soup kitchen, or maybe just leave a few hand written notes of encouragement and positivity around a local bookstore.
9. Give up any and all expectations of what you think the Holidays should be, and simply enjoy them for what they are.
10. Take note of the little things: the smile on someone's face, the sounds of paper ripping as someone unwraps a gift, the twinkle of the lights, the crisp scent of the snow, the warmth from the candles, the pile of messy dishes in the sink that dinner was served on... this is where all the magic is
Wishing you all a lovely holiday season!