Each year Christmas creeps up earlier and earlier. Soon we will start hearing about Christmas sales on the 4th of July.
It builds and builds and now on Thanksgiving afternoon/evening we are forgoing dinner with our families for early bird sales. Black Friday is now obsolete because it’s starting on Thanksgiving Day.
We make lists of everything that needs to get done: Christmas tree, decorate, lights outside, take a Christmas picture, buy cards, send Christmas cards, buy presents for everyone and their mother (teacher, mailman, garbage man, recycling man, boss, co-workers, babysitters, daycare providers, lawn mowers, neighbors, cashiers at the grocery store – I think you get my point) don’t forget to make cookies, plan dinners, lunches and parties – it can be so overwhelming.
Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. So I’ve decided to take it back and make it fun again and not stress. I’ve decided to do only what really makes me happy.
Here are my five tips for a more enjoyable and no stress holiday season:
Go Giftless. Instead of buying gifts for everyone on your list, make a donation to a charity or needy family. Tell everyone that you donated to charity in their honor this year. The feeling is unbelievable.
Get a group of friends together to volunteer to wrap presents to raise money for charity or stuff food bags for the needy. Your time is also a wonderful gift.
I realize that going giftless is hard to do when you have little kids, so maybe buy them a gift or two. They will still be overjoyed. It’s not about how much you get them or how many presents they get. It’s about making memories.
Give the gift of a random act of kindness. Buy coffee for the person in line behind you, leave a gift card with a note at the grocery store, send an anonymous note to someone telling them how special you think they are, make a payment on someone’s layaway, handout gift cards to people you see being kind to others and say thank you. There are a million different ways you can share the Christmas spirit.
Take a moment to really absorb the beauty around you. Look at the lights, the decorations, the joy, the kid’s excitement, the fun – really take it all in. Listen to the music. Sit back and just breathe and look all around you and marvel at how fantastic it is.
I love to sit on my sofa with my husband and our dog and just look at our Christmas tree. In the past, I never made time to just sit and enjoy it. I was always too busy with my list of things to do. There was no time for resting and I felt like I missed out on the reason I was doing all of those things to begin with.
Focus on what you have to be grateful for. Gratitude can shift your perspective. It’s one of the most powerful tools we have and it’s always available to us. I find that when I’m really stressed, if I can name three things I’m grateful for, it completely shifts my mood. You can always find something to be grateful for.
Spend time with the people you love. It’s about spending time with those people you love the most. They don’t necessarily have to be your family; they can be the family you choose. Maybe it’s your close friends or neighbors. I recently spent an afternoon into the evening with some of my closest friends and we had the best time. That’s what I needed. It was the greatest gift I could ask for. What a blessing!
My Christmas wish is that we embrace the giving, generosity and kindness all year long, not just in December. Imagine your holiday and your life with less stress and more meaning.
p.s. If you’ve ever wondered how gratitude can change your life, I’m offering a free 4-week program starting Monday, November 5th called The Month of Gratitude. Each week, we will focus on a different aspect of how practicing gratitude can change our lives. Click here for more details.