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The Beginner's Guide to Enjoying the Holidays

Let's face it, for most adults, the holiday season sucks. It's overwhelming, overstimulating, and financially draining. But it doesn't have to be that way. There is a solution to rekindling the excitement we used to feel on Christmas morning. So here it is, the beginner's guide to enjoying the holidays.



Now I want to take you through a little guided imagery. Sit back, relax, and let your mind wander to your perfect Christmas day (or Yule, Hanukkah, or whatever else may resonate with you). What comes up for you?


For me, I see a cozy candle-lit room. A few family members laughing over a hot meal.



Now I want you to let your mind wander to this holiday season. How does it feel?


For me, this is chaos, pure unbridled chaos. And probably some crying.

I see cold days, the harsh winter sun reflecting off of the dirty snow. I see financial stress after almost 2 months of overspending in the name of gift-giving. I see long hours in the car with cranky kids, going to our 3rd Christmas dinner of the day.

As I said, it sucks.


I want holiday A over holiday B every single time. Holiday B is a day to survive. Holiday A is something to look forward to. It's a day to create memories and strengthen our connection with our loved ones.


So, let's start intentionally moving towards holiday A. Make holiday B a relic of the past.

And here's how we will do that.


Values

Sit down right now and establish your values. Figure out what's important to you and your family. Eliminate the "shoulds" in this conversation. It's not what you think you should care about; it's what you do care about.

Spending more quality time with your kids?

Financial stability?

Success in your career?



Once your values are established, you have the perfect decision-making roadmap.

It's pretty simple, does this choice line up with your values?

If you've spent hundreds, if not thousands, on Christmas gifts, but financial stability is one of your values, does that choice line up with your values?


If you struggle to align your actions with your values, it might be time to reframe your mindset.


Reframe

Reframe your mindset around the holidays to line up with your values. It is ok to reschedule, set boundaries, and not drain your savings on gifts.


To reframe your mindset, let's use the acronym SAME. (which I find ironic given that we are trying to change)


S: simplify

A: assign

M: minimize

E: emphasize


Simplify

Tone it down. Stop trying to do all of the things. You are only one person. You can not make it all, bake it all, or buy it all. And that is ok. Your holiday can be fantastic despite all of that. And if you let go of those unrealistic expectations, you may actually enjoy yourself. (and your kids will be happier without the unnecessary tension)

Check out how I simplified my holiday shopping list in my post 5 Tips to Survive the Holidays Without Impulse Shopping with a free digital download of my Want Need Wear Read template.




Assign

Learn how to delegate.

I always thought I didn't know how to delegate. I just couldn't figure out how to tell people what I needed. As it turns out, I knew what I needed; I struggled to let go of the "my way or the highway" mentality. It is okay if my 11-year-old doesn't label things perfectly as long as they are labeled. It's okay if my husband doesn't wrap things like a professional elf as long as they are wrapped. And frankly, done differently is better than not done at all. (I'm looking at you, birthday presents in grocery bags rather than wrapped because I didn't have enough time and "couldn't" get myself to delegate).

I know you have a to-do list a mile long. Learn to hand some of those tasks to other people. They may not do it the way you would, and it may come out slightly different. But that is okay. Let it go and focus on what you can't delegate.


Minimize

This one snuggles up to simplify. Minimize what you do and what you give. Make sure your actions are lining up with your values. This year I made the goal with my family to purchase each of my kids one thing they really want. The rest of the gifts would be handmade, thrifted, or bought from other local makers. This gave me the financial freedom to buy them something they really wanted while teaching my kids the value of thrifting, making, and staying local as much as possible. This aligns with my values far more than going bankrupt in the toy aisle of Walmart.


Emphasize

When you pictured your perfect Christmas day, what did that look like again?

Emphasize that, all of that. Was it spending time with family? Was it a good meal in candlelight?

Do that. If spending time with toxic family members takes away your ideal holiday, don't do it. It is not only ok to say no, it is necessary. Allow yourself to respect your mental health and overall well-being, emphasize the choices that will give back the joy of the holidays, and leave the stress a thing of the past.




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