6 Tips for a Positively Successful Holiday Season

Somehow it is December and it feels as though the past eight months have simultaneously dragged along and flown. As always, we turn our attention to what is usually the busiest, merriest, and most wonderful time of the year.  And while decorating, shopping, baking, and holiday making is normally enough to find ourselves overwhelmed, exhausted, and stressed, this year’s Holiday Season: Corona Virus Edition is sure to add another log on that fire. So, how can you ensure that you aren’t sobbing next to a half decorated tree while forgotten cookies you can’t even exchange burn in the oven? Let’s explore six simple tips for a successful, less stressful holiday season.

  1. Adjust expectations – It’s been one heck of a year. We’ve done our best to create new normals, make the best of our situations, and find moments of comfort and joy. That, in itself, is a wonderful example of human resilience. And although many of us had hoped this would all be behind us come December, it is time to apply that to our holiday mindset as well.  The holidays will look different in 2020…and that is okay. Smaller gatherings, less activities, and less gifts does not need to mean less merriment/fun.  Adopt a mindset of “quality, not quantity”, utilize new and old ways of communication, relish a more intimate celebration, and continue to make the best of the season ahead.
  2. Come from gratitude – When negativity and bad news surround us everyday, it can be hard to remember or acknowledge that good and  positive things are still happening too.  Be intentional about seeking out the good. Reflect on the accomplishments of the year. Maybe you learned a new skill, perfected your sourdough, started walking more, or found a new TV series (or 20) to watch from the comfort and safety of your couch. Rather than focusing on things or experiences “lost”, express gratitude for all that you have. 
  3. Be in the moment – Many of us spend the holiday season making a list and checking it twice. Baking, decorating, shopping, wrapping, etc.  We complete a task and check it off, complete a task and check it off, etc.  In doing this, we lose sight of the spirit of the season.  We shouldn’t be doing these things just to get them done, but because they bring us (and others) joy! Baking and decorating are fun and creative experiences! Shopping and wrapping are ways we express love! Let’s be intentional in our tasks this season.
  4. Roll with the changes – If there is one thing we’ve learned in 2020, it is to expect the unexpected. From lockdowns to murder hornets, 2020 has certainly kept us on our toes. The holidays will be no different.  Numbers and guidelines will continue to change daily and that may make planning hard.  Acknowledging that all of this is beyond our control and understanding that plans may need to change at the last minute can help reduce stress and anxiety. Be firm in your plans to have a wonderful holiday season, but flexible in your methods of how to do it. 
  5. Create a new tradition – A lot of our favorite things about the holidays may not be happening in their truest form this year.  And while that is cause for disappointment, it is helpful to remember that all traditions were once something someone tried once and really enjoyed.  I challenge you to do just that. Find something that you think would be a fun thing to try and do it!  If you enjoy it, do it again next year too! Creating a new tradition promotes growth, bonding, and happiness now and in the years to come.  
  6. Don’t skip self-care – Even with a scaled back Christmas this year, between the tree, cards, meals, and changing plans, it is more important than ever to make time for yourself. Cozy up with a good book, sit down and actually watch the movie playing in the background, spend an afternoon building a snowman, journal about your hopes for the new year, or silently enjoy the stillness of a sleepy house. This season is for you too.  Be merry, mindful, and relaxed.  

I hope these tips will add a measure of peace, positivity, and perspective to your holiday celebrations this year.  With a little luck, next year’s blog will be about the profound joy of renewed large-scale celebrations and the craziness that ensues. Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow…together.  Blessings and joy on your holiday celebrations! 

If you enjoyed this post, please join me on Instagram @ardent_joy where I will be posting these tips and related quotes, affirmations, intentions, and actions all December long.