Category Archives: Joyful living

Making the Holidays Meaningful


It’s Mid November.  Are you really ready for the holiday season?

I don’t mean, do you have your gift lists in order, or do you know what you’re going to serve for Thanksgiving dinner?

I don’t mean, is your house decluttered, or have you made a budget for the season?

I’m wondering something completely different.

Do you have a vision of what you want the holiday season to look like?

Do you know how you want to feel in January, after the holidays are finished?

How do you usually feel during the holidays?

  • Stressed from shopping in crowded stores, searching for the perfect present while having no idea what that might be?
  • Exhausted from staying up late to get holiday chores done while still being busy with regular day-to-day duties?
  • Resentful because you feel obligated to attend too many holiday parties even though you’d rather stay home and drink some cocoa in front of the fireplace?

It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way

What would it be like to have time for everything you feel is important during the holidays?

  • There’d be time for friends, time for watching your favorite movie, time for spending special time with your family.
  • You’d skip what wasn’t important (even if some people might feel disappointed) and you wouldn’t spend half the holidays sick.
  • You’d spend money on people you wanted to thank (the newspaper carrier, the postal carrier) and time with the people you love (your son, your grandkids, your friend)

It really could all be different.

This year, try sitting down and figuring out what you want out of the holidays.

Some people want lots of activity: going places, attending all sorts of holiday events – the Nutcracker ballet, Christmas Choir concerts, cutting their own tree, hiking in crunchy snow.

Others long for quiet get togethers with friends and family, or listening to seasonal music while decorating the house.

For others, it’s just not the holidays unless they’re organizing a food and toy drive for families in the community.

Start with the feelings.

To get the kind of holiday season you really want, it’s helpful to start with how you want to feel during the holidays.

  • Do you want to feel excited and energized?
  • Or grateful and as charitable as a millionaire?
  • Perhaps you want to feel childlike with wonder?

Write out how you want to feel.  What do you want to recreate from your childhood or create brand new for you and the people you love?  If you’re having trouble, identify how you don’t want to feel and identify its opposite.

After you have a few feelings, think about activities and times when you have had those good feelings.  What were you doing?  Who was there?  Are there some special memories you have from years past that you’d like to refresh and experience again?

Those are the kinds of activities you want to do more of during the holidays. 

Do fewer activities that make you cranky and wear you out.

To make the holidays meaningful and special, you have to prioritize activities and events that will give you the feelings you long for.  Of course, that means you won’t have time to do some of the soul-sucking activities you may be used to doing.

  • No more waiting in a long line to see the new movie release on Christmas Day (unless you love the bustle of the crowd!)
  • No more stressing over how clean your house is because you won’t be hosting your husband’s college friends the weekend after Thanksgiving (restaurants are happy to have the business!).

When you know how you want to feel, you can plan to do more of the things that make you happy and excited or full of awe.  Walking down a quiet street, your boots crunching on the snowy sidewalks while you gaze at the holiday lighting – if that’s what makes your heart feel full, then by all means DO THAT.  Because you’ll bring that feeling home with you and share it with everyone else.  How you feel will permeate what you do, and other people can’t help but be influenced by that – in the very best ways.

If you know that doing helpful tasks with a group makes you feel warm and energized, find a group and DO something.  Help pack boxes at the Food Bank, help at your neighborhood school event (keeping in mind that you’ll have to undergo a criminal background check beforehand!), or go caroling in a neighborhood with a couple of like minded friends and collect food to donate to the local food bank.  My young adult son and his friends did that one year, and they had a blast.

It seems like every year I regret not having done something I really wanted to do, like spending time with a dear friend, or making a special dessert that’s my daughter’s favorite, or remembering the people I work with all year long, or even just watching my favorite holiday movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

There have been too many years when I haven’t been able to ‘fit in’ activities with special people, to connect with them, or make good memories.  I’ve run out of time, then spent too much money on gifts trying to demonstrate how much they mean to me.  Which never felt nearly as good as spending time with them, or writing a heartfelt note would have.

This year I’m making plans.

I’m going to make the entire season memorable for me and my family and friends.  If you’d like to join me in doing that, I’d like to offer you a FREE planner that will help you.  It’s called

Creating a Meaningful Holiday Season

and it’s yours FREE when you sign up below for my weekly newsletter.  You can start creating your meaningful holiday season today, or any day between now and January 1st.  It’s never too early, and it’s never too late.

Won’t you join me?

Hope you’re having the best day ever!





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