We’re in the homestretch. Christmas Eve is tomorrow, and with it comes many meals and visits with family and loved ones. They are busy days that are full of love, generosity, and joy. They are also filled with hustle and bustle, stress, and exhaustion. By the time Christmas is over, we all often feel like we need another day or two off to recuperate.
While the richness of time spent with family (and of the food) is exhausting on it’s own, it’s possible to keep hold of some of your energy and experience more joy over the holiday days with a few helpful tips.
Turn It Off
True story. 3 Christmas’ ago, I arrived at my in-laws family for dinner. All of the men were outside in the garage drinking beer and enjoying a fire while the kids were playing outside. I joined the women in the kitchen (draconian, I know, but also reality 🙂 ). But there was no laughter, no community, no conversation. Because as I sat there, everyone had their noses buried into their phones. They were so busy with Facebook, texting people who weren’t there, and playing games they didn’t even notice the other people in the room.
So give yourself the gift of turning off your phone, or at least turning off the notifications, so you free yourself from those distractions. And that leads me to my second point…
Holiday days are filled with family activities. For many, it’s filled with back to back activities that have you rushing from one home to the next, one meal to the next. And in between the rushing, you’re busy thinking about the rushing. How much time is left until you need to be on the road. What you need to do when you get there, which gifts to bring in, which hostess gift. It can feel like insanity!
Instead, let yourself be present. Stop. Breath. Be with the people you love enough to have committed this time together. Be fully present. Being present sometimes takes a bit of planning. Setting an alarm on your phone so it can keep track of the time for you, instead of keeping an eye on the clock, for example.
Don’t Be Drawn In
The odds are there will be at least 1 conversation over the holidays that you are challenged by. In this time of division over politics, religion, sexuality, and a long list of other topics, you know it’s going to happen. Here’s the secret. You don’t have to participate. Stunning, I know. If you’re like me, you want less drama and more joy over Christmas. And the easiest way is to choose to step away. You aren’t going to change the opinions and beliefs of your family any more than they will change yours. So instead, change the subject.
Over the coming days, my wish for you is that you experience great joy, love, and peace. That generosity of spirit fills you and yours. That you experience the joy of loving Christmas again as we did as children – when Christmas was full of magic, wishes fulfilled, and the love of everyone around you.