I don’t know about you, but I’ve reached that point in the holiday season where it’s hard to see past the busy. My to-do lists are taking over, so I’m really trying to pull back and remember what I love most about the Christmas season so that I can be intentional about adding a little more of that. It’s hard to make sure that you’re enjoying the holidays when you’re trying to do ALL THE THINGS.
Speaking of all the things, I saw this as I was scrolling my Instagram feed the other day and it really stuck with me:
That’s pretty profound – the idea of just stopping something we don’t enjoy is empowering, yet we don’t often think of it! I do truly love the holidays, but I’m trying to be a little better about taking this piece of advice to heart. I’m also going one step further and adding more of what I do enjoy. To help with that I made a list of the 10 things that help me appreciate the peace and joy of the season. I thought I’d share in case you need a little inspiration of your own.
- Soaking up the decorations. Holiday decorations are a physical signal that this time of year is different, and there’s just something magical about Christmas lights. For me, taking time to just sit and look at these things that make my home feel cozy and happy is as good as meditating.
- Drinking peppermint coffee. Coffee with that peppermint flavor feels Christmas to me. I don’t need a lot of it, but I do try to slow down and take time with all of those sensations.
- Make a holiday playlist. Christmas music a a very personal thing – we all like something different, and we all have very specific thoughts about when we want to listen to it. I have multiple playlists for different moods and situations. Turning one of them on gives me all the feels.
- Watch a nostalgic movie. There are so many Christmas movies that I love, but only a few really bring the nostalgia. These are the movies that tend to be tied to very specific traditions, like our annual Christmas Eve binge that always include Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story. Those movies mean Christmas Eve to me and watching them goes a long way towards making feel cozy, safe, and carefree.
- Bake something. Baking always makes me happy, but at the holidays there’s an added layer of emotion because the recipes are traditional. I make sugar cookies year-round, but gingerbread cookies are just for Christmas. When those are in the oven I know that everything in my little world is just right.
- Be present for a holiday event. This one is not so much about the actual event – there are SO many holiday events – the key piece here is being present for the event. There are some holiday events that I take my daughter to because I feel like we should go, but other events are ones we attend are meaningful. One of these is our zoo’s Christmas light display. I have fond memories of attending this as a child with my friends and family, and even as an adult, the sheer magnitude of that many lights is still magical. I try to really be in the moment when we cross this one off our holiday bucket list.
- Make a gift for someone. Gift giving is my love language, I would much rather give someone else a gift than receive one myself – but making someone a gift, really taking the time to plan and create something personal just for them – is an entirely different level. It doesn’t get better!
- Find MY reason for the season. There are so many facets to this holiday, identifying the ones that are most meaningful to me helps me direct my energy and focus on what really deserves my attention. For me, spending time with friends and family, letting them know how much I appreciate them, is the most important thing. I really do my best to lean into that.
- Do something to help someone. Service to others is a common theme this time of year, but it helps me to remember that this doesn’t have to be a huge gesture. Even small things like watching a friend’s kids for the afternoon, or picking up something that a family member forgot at the store can be valuable.
- Appreciate the weather. I consider myself lucky to live in a place where we get 4 distinct seasons, and it definitely doesn’t feel like Christmas if it isn’t cold. It gives me the opportunity to snuggle up in a blanket with a hot cup of coffee, and that’s an important part of my own holiday joy. I love snow at Christmas time, but even if we don’t get that, I can still find ways to enjoy the weather.
This is my own personal list, and it definitely won’t fit everyone – but it might inspire some ways to find your own holiday joy! One way that I’ve been really intentional about making time for these in the past is to write them in my calendar – choosing 1 for each day leading up to the holiday. I’ve also put them all in a stocking and pulled one out each day so that I can give myself a little surprise. Moms and teachers deserve to enjoy their holiday seasons too!