It’s December 18th today, which means it’s only 13 days until we enter a new decade. The days go slow, but the years go fast. And here we are, in another Holiday Season. This beautiful time of year can also be quite maddening with all of the expectations and traditions we hold onto so tightly. This year, after talking with friends about the stress of the Holiday Season, I was inspired to make some serious changes to try and capture more of the joy of the season, rather than feel an increase in the dizzying frenetic pace this time of year. It’s strange that things have become more convenient yet we actually feel like we need to do more. “Oh, I can get groceries delivered from amazon AND still be able to wrap all the presents before my in-laws arrive!” What about a bath? or a nap? We’re all in this together, and we’re all learning.

So in brainstorming with my wise friends the other day about boundaries and joy during December, we came up with some new ideas of how to live throughout the Holiday Season in ways that make us feel good. And relaxed. And calm. Here are a few of the ideas that have made me excited about this season once again.

1. Have your big Holiday meal on Christmas Eve. We have always had our big, elaborate meal on Christmas Day, but much of the day was spent making the big meal. With our time focused on meal prep, there was little time to focus on togetherness and reveling in the magic of the day. This year, we are going to spend our day in our pajamas, playing with all of they toys we receive and actually reading the books we are gifted from Santa. We’re going to sit around the fire and eat leftovers. We were a bit nervous to float this idea with my in-laws when we invited them, but they were thrilled, too.

2. Traditions don’t always have to stick. Nostalgia ties us to the past and to “the way things have always been done” but this doesn’t always work in our lives now. My grandmother used to make 15 types of Christmas cookies, and sometimes I feel the pressure to as well- but I don’t want to. Yesterday I was making snickerdoodle cookies with my daughter and I asked her if there were any Christmas traditions that she loved and really wanted to uphold this year. She said “No” without pause. I was surprised by this, and it just goes to show that we may be stressing ourselves out for no reason at all. Often times we create our traditions for the benefit of our children, but perhaps we should check in with them to see what they envision. Most likely, it’s something much more simple than the stories we make up in our heads. I just want to be with those I love. And as it turns out, they may just want to be with me, too.

3. Speak your Desires. When we get into large groups, we all try to accommodate one another and then everyone ends up unhappy. So, when we get together now, we ask what everyone desires to do. We sit down and actually talk about this. Usually, we can get at least 1 thing done that everyone wants to do- and this grants permission to those who want to go for a walk in the woods and those who want to sit around the fire and drink wine to do just that. When everyone’s needs are at least partially met, we’re a lot happier coming together and spending time with one another.

The Happiest of Holidays to you and yours. I wish you love, peace and hope. See you in 2020!~