What is your best holiday memory from when you were a kid? My guess is that it had something to do with a family or spiritual gathering, a holiday gesture of love and giving or a Christmas morning blanketed with fresh snow. It probably wasn’t a beautifully decorated house, a perfectly shaped Christmas tree or the best set table. So WHY do we torture ourselves with the details and chaos of the holiday season? Why do we eat and drink too much, sleep too little and put our health and well being at the bottom of our “to do” list?
Of course we want things to be welcoming and festive, but in doing so, we lose the joy and meaning of the season. We stray so far from the present moment trying to create the “perfect moment” that we lose not only the “moment”, but the whole season. We run ourselves so ragged and neglect healthy habits that we start to dread the next fun party and the way we are going to feel on January 1st!
One of my best memories from when my kids were little was the year that my then was unemployed over the holidays. We made a very conscience decision to scale WAY back on all material aspects of the holiday. We did get a tree and used the decorations that we saved from season to season, but cut out our normal holiday decor budget and didn’t send out a card We decided not to exchange gifts with each other, siblings, parents and friends and just got a couple of special things for our girls. Because we had scaled back so much, we actually had the time and energy to really enjoy the season! I think it was the first time we were not stressed around Christmas, grateful for the little things that make the season so special and so much more mindful for how lucky we really were. We had our health, our family and our home, so much more than many less fortunate souls.
So this year, as we move through the season, try to step back and enjoy the little moments that make this season so magical. Take a moment to hold the door for a stranger, smile at someone who is clearly having a bad day or give generously to someone less fortunate than yourself. These moments that make up our lives move by so quickly, what do you want to remember about the 2014 holidays?
Wishing you the many joys of the season!