The holidays are approaching quickly!
Before you read any further, take a moment to jot down/text yourself your honest answer to this question (no one will see it but you, so tell the truth!)
To you, what is the true purpose of the holidays?
Seriously, write it down.
This won’t work if you don’t write your own
Here is my answer:
To spend time enjoying my family and friends, to eat delicious meals together, to be thankful for everything and everyone we have, to rest, to laugh, to celebrate, to love, to appreciate the present moment and all of the festivities
Now, I’m writing this down so I can refer to it throughout the holidays whenever I get distracted by something that may not be the true purpose of the holidays for me.
I’m not sure what other variations of this most of are willing to admit to, but it’s hard for me to imagine anyone writing:
“To give and get expensive presents that cause most of us financial and emotional stress, to make my house perfect to impress my in-laws, to judge and argue with my cousins, to gain 10 pounds, to show everyone on social media how awesome I am by posting pics of what ‘Santa’ brought my kids, to cry at least once over something ridiculous, to get mad at my husband for not buying the gift I wanted, etc.”
Now, if any of those things are the true purpose of the holidays to you
, then by all means go with that. But if they aren’t and you’re in it for something deeper and more meaningful, I read the best article
in the newest edition of Live Happy
magazine that coincides perfectly with this idea.
As a recovering perfectionist, I identify strongly with this article. I have been guilty of applying an all-or-nothing mentality to everything, including the holidays. If everything doesn’t go the way I thought it ‘should be,’ then I get a little less than cheerful.
But that is no way to live and if the true purpose of the holidays to me is to enjoy them, there’s no room for perfectionism, only joy. 🙂
The author gives four great tips to have a “better than perfect” holiday season:
1. Focus on the Positive
Focus on all of the positive aspects of the holiday experience.
Make the preparations joyful.
Play your favorite holiday music.
Make your favorite dish.
Watch holiday movies.
Notice everything you have to be grateful for (start with clean water and clothing if you have to).
Instead of stressing about how clean your home is or how perfect your decorations are; appreciate that you have a home to invite friends and family into!
Instead of looking for the things you despise in your relatives, make a point to look for their redeeming qualities (yes, they all have some).
Summary: If you look for the negative aspects of everything, you will find them. If you look for the positive aspects of everything, you will find them! So why would we choose the former?
2. Create better than perfect health
The holidays can be full of late nights, stress, and heavy foods (the combination of which can be very detrimental to our mental health and bodies).
Make your health and your family’s an important priority during this time.
Refer back to your true purpose of the holidays and look for the part that says, “neglect my health and well-being.”
Oh, you didn’t see that? Me neither. So don’t!
Get some sleep!
Take a nap.
Take a walk.
Try meditation for 5 minutes (don’t say you don’t have time; you’re reading this…you have time).
Be that person who brings a healthier version of a traditional dish.
Summary: Do anything that makes you feel healthy!
The author encourages to give gifts that are personalized and/or less expensive.
Referring back to your true purpose of the holidays, mine is not to give a receive tons of gifts that break my budget/receive more than I ever wanted or needed in return.
I’m a huge proponent of giving a gift that you would like to receive. I would much rather get a gift that my loved one obviously put some thought and love into.
Search DIY gifts on Pinterest and find tons of affordable homemade gifts!
I’ve also enjoyed giving gifts that are for a future experience together instead of objects (tickets to the aquarium, restaurant gift certificates, gas money to get us to a hiking destination, etc.)
Play dirty santa.
Set a $ limit.
Agree to not gift.
Thank your family for forfeiting their gift so you can buy presents for a family in need instead.
Summary: Don’t let gifts be a source of stress; let them be a source of joy, whatever that takes!
4. Out with the old, in with the new
“Just because you’ve always done something a certain way, doesn’t mean you need to continue.”
This is my favorite quote from this article. The author makes an excellent point.
If a ‘tradition’ causes you more stress than happiness, STOP. Don’t do it!
You don’t have to do anything.
Opt for less elaborate decorations.
Don’t decorate at all.
Don’t attend that party that causes you more anxiety than joy.
What’s the worst that could happen if you skip it?
What new tradition can you do that brings you happiness?
Try something different.
Summary: Let go of your rigid expectations of what it ‘should be like’. Cut out traditions you don’t love and add new ones! Or don’t! Just enjoy it.
Create the experiences you desire to find.
Be kind to yourself first and to your loved ones.
Enjoy your holidays!
If you are comfortable sharing, please tell us the true purpose of the holidays to you in the comments below 🙂