We put out the snowmen, angels and nativity scene. Fredward the Elf is off the shelf and currently resting on the piano until he gets moved again tonight. The framed photos of the kids with Santa are displayed. White candles are every where. The wreath is hung on the front door. This weekend the family and I are heading out of the city to cut down a tree and yes, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care.
December for many means Holiday season. And for just as many who equate that to joy, there are those who equate it to stress. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or Christmas or anything in between, I offer some holiday stress-free tips:
- Choose Joy. Participate in the traditions that bring you joy. Avoid doing them at all if they make you a cranky ol’ you know what. If you feel the blood drain from your soul thinking about this “tradition”, stop already, create a new one instead. Tell the family you are in need of a break from said tradition and ask them to help you think of a new one. Out with the old, in with the new. Sometimes taking a year off from something gives it a whole new light the next year. (I send out Christmas Cards every other year and even though this is the year to send them out, I am really checking in and asking myself if this will bring me joy.)
- Be patient with yourself and others. (Avoid crowds or if you must step into the throng of crazy, breathe deeply.)
- Less is More. (This applies to shopping, gifts, food, activity.)
- Give from your heart. Make doing something for others on the top of your list. (See our family tradition below.)
- Receive. If someone offers help be open to another’s sharing of their love and good intention. (You are being a Scrooge when you hog all the work for yourself. You are the Grinch when you turn down someone’s desire to support you. When someone offers you a gift, instead of saying, “You shouldn’t have,” say, “Thank you.”
- Let go of expectations. (Be open to possibility.) When we let go of how we think everything should happen, we are opening ourselves up. Keep the intention and release the details.
- Laugh. (Bring out games. We love Bull Shit, a family card game that doesn’t take long to play one hand using a regular deck of cards fits in easily after dinner and before homework. A little B.S. makes every one feel lighter. If you are not a game family, watch a Christmas classic movie together. Take an excursion together, even if it is just walking around the block to see the Christmas lights.
For Advent (the four weeks leading up to Christmas) we pull names out of a cup, (did you think I would really use a hat?) The family member’s name we pull out of the cup is the person we are “extra” nice to for the month. Intentionally doing something kind. Being aware of how we connect with that person, simply shinning a light on your relationship. On Christmas morning we reveal our secret person. This is a tradition from my childhood and even though this year the family joked, “I won’t remember to be nice until a couple of days before Christmas,” we are carrying on with this tradition. No one pitched a fit, hey still genuinely want to participate, twe are ready to play. This tradition invites us to choose joy, be patient with one another, that a little means a lot, to give from the heart, receiving is a gift to all, and that when we laugh a little everything is lighter, brighter and stress is transformed to connection, love and joy.
Hi, I’m Jenny Gwinn McGlothern, Certified Transformational Master Coach for your Life and Spirit, who has been leading retreats for women and coaching them since 2009. On the path of discovery, always seeking, it is clear that one of my favorite ways to fill my own cup is by writing. May my weekly blog give you a sip to reflect, a nugget to chew, a thought to refill. If it is an accountability partner you seek, I offer life and spiritual coaching for men, women, teenagers, and couples, in person in Seattle and by phone. email@example.com or www.mamaneedsarefill.com. 206 255 0463. January 6th’s mini-retreat is sold out stay tuned for the 2017 sack lunch mini-retreat schedule.