This time of year is full of should’s and have to’s from family traditions and cultural dictums about how we are supposed to celebrate the holidays. You find yourself pushing to get all of it done the way it is “supposed to be done”. How about considering doing the holidays the way YOU want them to be this year? What would that look like? Maybe it means doing most of these things, but this time asking for help—delegating tasks to the rest of the family to share the load. Maybe if means cutting back on the list of gifts to save money and not get more stuff that people already have enough of.
Years ago my family agreed that the adults didn’t need more stuff; so now we donate money to each other’s favorite charity. We get to feel good about the giving and benefit other people at the same time. We love that our money is going to good use, in this case to people who can’t afford their own holiday meal and gifts. It is so rewarding to know that we can make a difference in the lives of others in this easy way. That is the best gift for all of us under the tree.
My friend, Debbie’s large family each picks a name out of a hat and gets one gift for that particular person instead of twenty for every person in the family.
My friend, Kathy’s family has a White Elephant Gift Exchange where each person buys a funny gift and then, going around the circle, each one picks a gift either already opened or an unopened one. They have a ball. Then they eat their holiday dinner, which is a chili competition where each has brought their favorite chili concoction.
You don’t have to be locked in to the dictates of culture. Break free and create your own holiday. This could be the most meaningful holiday ever!
The holidays not only bring fun and festivity, but memories of years past and of lost loved ones. The challenge is to have this year include all of the remembering. Make room in the busyness for some quiet time to reflect, grieve, and honor the memory of lost loved ones and years past. And then make room to explore what would really make the holidays pleasurable for you.
So what is it for you? What can you let go of so that your days are less crazy? What do you want to bring in to really feel the spirit of the season? It’s worth taking the time to ask. You will be surprised how agreeable family and friends will be in making new, simpler traditions that speak to everyone’s hearts.