6 Ways to Simplify Your Holidays
By: Lisa Luken
The holidays are fast approaching, which means our to-do lists are getting longer day by day. If you’re feeling the pressure of trying to do it all, it’s important to step back and remember what this season is truly about.
According to Wikipedia, in modern use, the term holiday means “any special day of rest or relaxation, as opposed to normal days away from work or school.” If this is the case, then why does the holiday season always seem to end up as one of the craziest and busiest times of year? No matter what activities and celebrations you participate in during this season, with some intentionality, it’s possible to tame the chaos and make this holiday season slower, simpler, and more enjoyable.
Here are 6 ways to simplify your holidays:
Don’t think of delegating as giving in or giving up. Instead, think of it from a positive perspective. When you delegate, you give others the opportunity to do what they do best. Let them be the expert and handle the task. In turn, you’ll free yourself up to do more things that you enjoy. Remember that your time is valuable, especially during the holiday season. The weeks will go by quickly and you can only do so much. Think about what your time is worth and invest in help when needed.
Focus on community
Even if you want to avoid the hustle and bustle for the season, preferring to hibernate instead, it wouldn’t hurt to do something for your community’s improvement. Pay attention to what the people in your community need and join them. Whether it’s choosing to give back by serving free hot meals or donating to a local toy drive, giving provides opportunities to connect with others in your community. You might also choose to join the caroling group in town, help decorate at the town hall, or attend a community theater production. Make it a point to smile and say hello to others at the events. Small gestures can go a long way in sharing the joy with others in your community.
If it’s overwhelming to think about volunteering or attending another event, choose to connect with your community at a different time of year when there are fewer demands on your attention. Consider which time of year works best for you, find a group in your community, and plan to participate in a different way in the new year. Connecting with others in your community is important all year!
Practice Teamwork & Communication
If you’re doing anything over the holiday season that requires collaboration, this is critical. Often, the source of our stress and messy holiday issues are a result of someone not asking for help or not communicating clearly. Be proactive by talking to your family and loved ones before the season begins. Discuss traditions, share new ideas and be open to each other’s thoughts. Remind each other that just because something has always been done a certain way, it doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way. Although you may encounter resistance to changing things up a bit, share why you think it’s important and try to agree on a new way of doing things this year. Have another discussion after the holiday season while the memories are fresh in everyone’s minds and use that information to plan for next year.
Choose experiences over things
Do you remember the last “thing” you received from a friend or family member? Now, do you remember the last experience you had with a friend or family member? Which comes to mind faster?
Over time, memories of experiences are more likely to stick with us than the physical items we’ve received over the years. Keep this in mind as you contemplate purchasing another gift for someone. If you’re tempted to just go out and purchase another cookbook for your budding culinary friend, consider instead taking them to a cooking class and enjoying the learning experience and the cooked meal with them after. You can also arrange a vacation with them so you can spend some quality time with each other!
If you’re still tempted to present them with a gift that can be opened, a Nixplay frame is a perfect gift! It will help you relive all of the experiences you’ve enjoyed with that person. Gift it with images already on it or enjoy the experience of sitting with them to set it up and add photos they choose. The experience of giving it can be your gift!
Uphold your boundaries
You’re likely going to get asked to do something this holiday season. Before the season begins, think about or jot down three words you’d like to feel during this holiday season. Think about what’s really important to you during this season. Then, when you get asked to do something, think back to your words and decide if this request will take you closer to or further from what you hold dear to your heart.
Don’t be afraid to say “no” if it doesn’t align with your vision or if the thought of doing it makes you feel overwhelmed or “heavy.” On the other hand, if you’re immediately excited about the request, say “yes” enthusiastically. You might also choose to respond instead with an alternative option that works for everyone. Be confident, speak up, and uphold your boundaries kindly and gracefully. Focus on what’s best for you and your family. Remember, it’s your holiday season, too.
Prioritize sleep and self-care
By upholding your boundaries, you’re creating a holiday season that feels good to you and your family. Though routines, activities, and traditions will change over the years, two things that should remain constant are sleep and self-care. Resist the urge to pack in more to-dos after everyone else is in bed and do your best to stick to a set bedtime so you don’t compromise your health.
Remember that self-care isn’t just about getting massages and having long weekends away (although it certainly can be!). Practicing self-care can be as simple as starting the morning in bed with five quiet minutes of deep breathing. Or maybe it’s incorporating in a 10-minute walk in the middle of the day. The bottom line is, it doesn’t have to be glamorous. Anything that helps you stay focused on your physical and mental health will help. When you prioritize these things, you’ll show up more alert, focused, and energized, and you’ll be more likely to enjoy your holiday season.
With some thoughtful planning and intentional conversations with your loved ones before the activities and commitments begin, you have the power to make this holiday season simple. Do your best with the suggestions here and give yourself the freedom to experiment with what feels right for you and your family.