The Holidays. Busy shopping malls, cheesy festive music, the hauling of decorations from spider ridden areas of the house, snow, snow angels, winter driving, frost on windows, cold hands, drippy noses. What does the experience of The Holiday mean to you? Perhaps warm feelings of nostalgic traditions, hot chocolate with marshmallows, candy canes, weight gain and oh yes….NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS.
One thing I experience, in my own life, is that nothings brings on self reflection like The Holidays. I think more about all things family, more about what I have done in the last 12 months, what I could have done differently and where I am in comparison to where I FEEL I should be. This reflection, accompanied with incredible amounts of sugar and busyness, can make the holidays feel more like a emotional roller coaster ride than a relaxing time of holiday fun. Sorrow, love, gratitude, loss, happiness and remembrance surface like bobbing apples in water. It really is a magical and spiritually moving time.
As a Momma of three girls I am also focused on setting the stage for a most wonderful Holiday experience for my family. Ugh. More pressure. I think back to “how my Mom did it” and find myself wishing I had spent less time eating and more time learning how she made our traditional Potato Donuts. Damn those are good.
Work, personal expectations, expectations from those around us (perceived and real), emotional triggers, candy and the chaos of the season can all combine to manifest a less than cheery festive experience. Not the intended result!
Remind yourself that The Holidays are a time to EXPERIENCE JOY, to CELEBRATE LIFE, to LOVE and to EMBRACE GRATITUDE. Here are 3 Tips for doing just that with your family.
RE-EVALUATE your EXPECTATIONS.
Must the Butter Tarts be homemade? Do you really need that many appies at the open house? Most often we are the creators of our own anxiety and stress. Take a few minutes to re-evaluate your expectations. In what ways can you can operate differently this holiday season to make life easier for everyone? ASK YOURSELF: Are the expectations you have for yourself and others working for you? If you are living with frustration and anxiety during the festive season it’s time for one of two things: adjustments to what you expect and do OR acceptance of what you can not change. Sometimes it’s the small, and often super transformative, tweaks to your mindset that can make all the difference. Try to give yourself a break and remember that you are doing the best you can!
I share this basic but often overlooked advice in almost every session I offer (from kids to corporate programs). We are so busy DOING we disconnect from BEING in the moment. Turn up Rocking’ Around the Christmas Tree and dance with your kids. Get silly. Invite MAGIC into the season with the help of your imagination and your childrens’ authentic desire to spend time with FUN Mom and Dad. I can personally GUARANTEE that they will remember your silly dance moves over a super clean house and cooked just right Turkey every time.
THE REAL 3G Network: Genuine Generosity & Gratitude.
Our kids learn from who we are and what we do. As a family, brainstorm creative ideas on how you can help others at this special time of year. Kids love, love, LOVE to be a part of something that feels so good. Plus generosity feeds gratitude. When family members unite to lift others up cohesiveness grows. You become a formidable team of united values and purpose. These are all GOOD THINGS! So open up a box of Turtles, grab a pen and paper and start thinking about how you and your kids can do good this Christmas.
May the twinkling lights of your Christmas Tree fill your home with excitement, family and love. Above all else…WORRY LESS AND ENJOY MORE. Happy Holidays.