This Christmas season is shaping up to be anything but normal. Instead of lamenting what you’ve lost, what if you committed to creating meaningful holiday memories in spite of the challenges?
Facing adversity is never fun or comfortable, and yet it helps us grow and stretch beyond our comfort zones. Not always a bad thing. And when it comes to holidays, we can get so steeped in traditions and sameness it can be hard to break out of the cycle, for better or worse.
So here are a few ideas for making the most out of the holiday season in 2021 and creating love, joy, peace, and hope wherever you go.
Tips for making meaningful holiday memories this year
Many times, our experiences with holidays are negative either because of conflict and disunity or because of unmet expectations. While there may be some family-related drama you can’t escape, there are many elements that are in your control, especially when it comes to mindset, focus and expectations.
Think about what will make this season meaningful
Sometimes we forget to consider what we want to get out of something and float along with what other people want. Take a few moments to think about what would make your Christmas meaningful, and find ways to incorporate those things into your celebrations.
It’s so easy to get swept up in the frenzy of the season and feel like you have to do it all to perfection. This quickly leads to stress, burnout and unmet expectations. Is there a way you can shift your perspective from trying to make everything perfect to concentrate on those things on your list? What is the most important thing to you? Stay focused on that.
Give experiences rather than material objects
If you’re looking to create lasting memories this Christmas, consider giving personal experiences rather than the standard retail gift. Of course, there are certain material objects, which are appropriate as well, but they’ll have more impact if you approach gift-giving with the person in mind, rather than just finding something to wrap.
Find a way to focus more on spending time together and doing something truly special, and the rest will come together.
Honestly, how can you experience the peace, joy, love, and hope of the Advent season when you’re going a million miles an hour? There is a pace that works for you. Find it and stick to it. For those who are inherent people-pleasers, it may be difficult to draw boundaries when there’s a blank spot in your calendar. To that I say, block hours and days off for things like baking, spending time with loved ones, volunteering or whatever it is that you want to prioritize.
What are the things that bring you joy? What activities will allow this season to be meaningful to you? Put those items in your calendar if that’s what it takes for you to have some fun and slow down a bit.
Say no to things you don’t want to do
This is your official permission to decline invitations and activities that don’t bring joy. It’s so easy to overcommit, especially during the busy holidays. There are people to visit, gifts to buy (and wrap), baking, cooking, and so much more. Before you jump into the regular old hustle and bustle, take a moment to reflect and ask yourself, is this something I want to be doing? Will this add meaning? Even if you have time to do something, if you don’t want to, don’t. Leave your time unscheduled. Be a rebel. Kick back and enjoy yourself on your own terms.
Be intentional with your time
For most people, finding things to do is not the problem. Making time when you don’t have time is more likely the challenge. Things change when you consider how you spend your time and decide to only spend it on things you want to do, or care about doing. When you approach your activities with this frame of mind, you become more intentional and mindful about what you do, what you don’t do and who you spend time with.
There’s a good chance there will be more on your list of things you want to do than you’ll be able to do, so once you know what you want to spend time on, take an extra few minutes to prioritize these items so the most important ones happen.
One of the best ways you can create meaningful holiday moments is by being fully present wherever you are. Even if you are in the middle of a busy day, have a long to-do list or there are other stressors on your mind, the more you can put that aside and focus on what’s happening right now, the more meaningful these interactions and experiences will be.
Start new traditions
When you’re looking at creating meaning this Christmas, it’s also a great opportunity to consider the holiday traditions you currently observe. Which ones provide value for you? Which ones feel like a chore? Consider trying a few new things in place of what’s not working, or creating new traditions altogether so you and your family get more out of the season. This is a beautiful time of year to reflect on and renew your faith, and traditions can be a wonderful part of that.
You don’t need to make a list and check it twice to make this Christmas a success, although having an idea of what would be special for you will definitely help you prioritize those moments and work towards making them happen. Let go of trying to do it all, and trying to please everyone. Instead, look at what will be the most important and meaningful activities in your life, and fill up your calendar with those things and people.