The holiday season is upon us again. A chance to spend quality time with family and friends. A chance to punctuate key relationships with specially-selected gifts. A chance to end the quarter/year strong. But also, a chance to become completely overwhelmed and enjoy none of it!
And that’s because too frequently we get swept up in the frenzy and hypnotized by the advertising and hype, unconsciously playing out old scripts that are no longer relevant today. So, this holiday season, take control. Be more deliberate. Choreograph a sense of ease that will shine more beautifully than the brightest twinkle lights. Intentionally SHAPE the quality of this holiday season with these five sanity-saving strategies.
Shorten the season. My inner retailer comes out this time of year… as I want to put up the Christmas tree before the Thanksgiving gravy even cools. But, it’s hard to sustain holiday cheer for that long. So, compress it. You get to choose the timeline… not Macy’s. Start later. Stop earlier. Take a break in between. But savor the concentration.
Hit the pause button for just 60 seconds and do nothing more than activate your senses. Take in the smells, the sights, the textures and more with 100% of your attention for just one minute… and discover how refreshed you’ll return to your previously scheduled life.
Adopt a ‘less is more’ mentality. Find ways to trim back your expectations… of yourself, of others, of the magnificence of the gifts you give. Whittle down the list to just those individuals for whom gift giving is genuinely joyful. Bake only the cookies you really enjoy. Consciously wringing greater enjoyment from fewer activities can completely change the holiday dynamic.
Pen your own holiday poem. As silly as it sounds, capturing highlights of your year (or your life) in rhyming verses quickly becomes a ‘flow’ activity. You realize the multiple benefits of personal engagement and reflection… and you have something pretty entertaining to share with family and friends.
Exchange experiences. Let’s be honest. Does your friend really need a motorized grill cleaner… or anything else for that matter? Stop the madness… and the senseless shopping. Negotiate with friends and family to share experiences rather than items. A special dinner out. A trip to a theme park. An early morning hike. For the ultimate holiday ‘two-fer’, schedule something that all parties will enjoy and not only will you have exchanged a gift (that won’t be returned), but you’ll have experienced that quality time that the holiday season is all about.
So, what about you? What do you do to take control of the holiday madness and shape a more conscious experience for yourself and those around you? How could greater consciousness during the holidays support you throughout the rest of the year?