Are you enjoying this holiday season and the “hap, happiest time of the year?”
If you’re like most people, there may be a little (or a lot) of stress surrounding the holiday.
For many people, the reminders of holidays gone wrong are still fresh or the thought of getting together with certain family members causes stress. Or maybe you’re just feeling the pressure of hosting or going to a party or having enough money to make it a “good” Christmas for your kids or loved ones.
For some people, this will be their last holiday on earth. Others are reminded of loved ones who passed whom they are missing this time of year. Some people will be spending Christmas alone or sick.
Number one: You are never really alone. Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean all of our feelings have magically vanished. We are humans with complex emotions and memories. Many other people are going through whatever you are.
Whether you celebrate Christmas for Christian reasons or to spend time with the ones you love giving and receiving heartfelt gifts and a good meal, you can simplify and streamline your day to be the most meaningful to you without any drama.
Read on for my tips for a simple and special holiday without the worry or stress you may be feeling.
Even if on Christmases past you’ve always celebrated in a big way, that doesn’t mean you can’t start new traditions. Don’t put any extra pressure on yourself to go over the top. Invite fewer guests. Have a simple meal. Exchange less expensive but heart-felt gifts. Or just go to church and worship (or pray from home).
You can simply light a candle for someone you love and send out positive intentions as a gift to them.
Christmas doesn’t have to be what society says it is. You do not need to fall for advertisements trying to sell material objects. You do not need to wear something fancy or buy new clothes. It is not necessary to buy your kids expensive or many gifts to make it special for them.
How can you modify your traditions to keep it simple and heartfelt?
What small but meaningful way can you celebrate the meaning of Christmas, whatever that is for you?
Let’s strip down all the fluff and ask ourselves what emotions we truly want to feel and what we want to honor about this day?
Purchasing a new family game and playing together (or playing an old family favorite).
Bringing a meal to a neighbor who is alone this year.
Making decorations or crafts with your kids. (In olden times they used to make popcorn garland to decorate the tree).
Making birdseed suet for the birds then watching them come to eat it.
Watching a favorite Christmas themed movie with popcorn and hot chocolate in your pajamas. (My favorite is a It’s a Wonderful Life)
You do not need to fake emotions. If something is going on in your life that makes you sad, that’s OK. You can still be sad about that thing and celebrate with those you hold dear.
There is no reason to seclude yourself because you aren’t in the best of spirits. I know you may not feel like getting together with people right now but being home alone when you know others are getting together to celebrate isn’t going to help you feel any better.
You can still truly appreciate what other people want to do for you without putting on a huge fake smile.
Maybe you recently lost a job or worse, lost a loved one. Life is a rollercoaster. If you happen to be on a dip during the holidays so be it. Your loved ones will understand. And things will get better.
No matter what is happening in your life, there are still things to be grateful for.
On another note, if you’re the one hosting someone who is not having the best of times, know that you don’t have to change that person’s emotions. Whatever emotions others are feeling are completely out of your control. Just be your beautiful, loving self and keep being sincere. Your presence and thoughtfulness alone is a very special gift.
I love this ideas of making little notes to add to the Christmas tree either making a wish for someone or describing something we’re thankful for.
There is so much to be grateful for yet we sometimes take those things for granted. Don’t be the person who doesn’t realize what they have until it’s gone.
Count your blessings on Christmas. Take the time to go for a walk and enjoy nature or cozy up by the fire. Feel every sense and appreciate all of them. Be thankful for the food you eat. Be thankful for friends and family. Be thankful for another day of life.
Who cares if it’s not a perfect life? It’s your life to live any way you want. Try to let go of your troubles just for a little while to appreciate what you do have. Gratitude is contagious. When you let people know that you’re thankful for them or something they did for you, it returns the gift to them.
You do not need to attend every festivity. You can say no to whatever you’re truly not up to. If you need to take a break from a party it’s OK to take a little walk or go into a separate room for a little while. It’s OK to leave early.
You can take a break from the party but you can also take a break from your suffering.
It is OK to put your grief, anger, depression or worry on hold for a little while. It’s OK to have fun even when things in life aren’t perfect for you.
And give your mind a break while you’re at it. Don’t beat yourself up over anything at all. You don’t have to be the family mediator. You don’t have to be everyone’s shoulder to cry on. Take good care of yourself. Say no if you need to.
Decide how you could use a break and give yourself one. No one needs to be “on” all the time.
I used to have extremely high standards. A perfectionist to the core. I couldn’t understand why others didn’t put as much effort into things as I did. In retrospect, that is super unhealthy. It caused a lot of stress, discomfort and anxiety.
I held myself and everyone else to impossibly high standards. I was able to work that out through a lot of introspective work (if you’re interested in how I did that follow my blog for lots of tips).
Just for one day, let that shit go!
Your family isn’t perfect. Your house isn’t perfect. Your gift choices aren’t always perfect and the ones you receive aren’t either. Nothing is perfect nor is it meant to be. As my favorite monk, Ajhan Brahm, says, “Welcome to humanity.”
In case you haven’t heard this recently, most people are not thinking about what you’re doing, judging you or out to ruin your day. If you’re stressing over everything everyone thinks, says and does, that’s on you.
Learn what things you can and cannot control.
This is a favorite little graphic I use as a reminder when old ways try to creep back in.
Let whatever way you decide to celebrate be good enough. If you need a talk on contentment listen to this one by Buddhist monk and teacher, Ajahn Brahm. You do not need to be a Buddhist to appreciate his talks, by the way. He speaks about human problems and how to deal with any situation calmly. Ultimately, all of his talks are examples of how to be at peace.
I’m sending this post with warm wishes and positive thoughts that you and your loved ones are happy and well. May you be able to relax and enjoy the new year ahead. May it bring you everything you desire and more.
Love and thanks for reading along.
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Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy New Year!