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Four Simple Steps to Keep Your Holiday Spirit Alive

What three words come to your mind when I say that Christmas is only a couple weeks away?
Happy? Anxious? Joyful? Family? Stress? Tired?
Mixed emotions are common for many of us and often have a lot to do with past experiences and our own expectations for the future.
If you would like to take control of your holiday, try the following idea for a start:

  1. Make a list of what you do to prepare for your celebration. Do you write cards? Bake special foods? Attend special events? Shop for gifts? Include everything—big and small—and give each item a realistic amount of time that it will take.
  2. Now for a second list. What do you like best about the holiday season and what is most important to you. Getting together for a coffee with a friend? Going to a special concert? Skating in the evening at a rink that has lights all around? Watching a movie with family? Assign a number to each thing on your list in order of priority. If you have others in your life, have them prepare these lists as well.
  3. Compare the lists with a calendar in hand. Put your number one priority on the calendar and give it the time it will need. Continue down your priority list and fill in the calendar. Don’t forget your regular, everyday activities like going to work, getting enough sleep, buying groceries!
  4. Do you have more on your list than fits? Now is the time to think about what you may want to let go and to talk openly with the others in your life.

Years ago I used to bake a lot of special treats for Christmas. When I talked to my family about what they liked most about these treats, I found out that they really only cared about one kind of cookie; and it was my easiest, least expensive recipe. So now I only make whipped shortbread and have more time for the other things on my list—like eating the cookies with my adult children! It was only one action, but it opened the conversation about what each of us valued; what we wanted to keep and what we could change.
So what three words would you like to have come to mind now?

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