Monday, October 18, 2010

Creating A Conscious Holiday Season

If Halloween stores have popped up all over, then the rest of the holidays can't be far behind! Time to begin rethinking Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years. Check your gut reaction to thinking about the holidays approaching. Do you feel dread? Overwhelmed? Tired? Time for a proactive first strike.

Time to think outside of the box about the holidays. Make a list of all the things you normally do to prepare or celebrate a holiday. Next, mark off things that you do out of tradition, or routine, but don't enjoy doing. Poll the members of your family about who really cares about what, and what each person really finds meaningful or enjoyable. Think creatively about what will work for your family NOW. For this reason, sending holiday cards has fallen off many people's list of holiday to do's, but going to church together or decorating the tree may be really important. Lots of holiday baking may not make sense when we are all watching our cholesterol, but watching "It's a wonderful life" as a family, or bundling up to see the December Newport Beach boat parade may really get you in the spirit.

Spreading tasks out, starting with the things that can be done earlier, can help reduce the stress. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Get everyone involved. If you lower your standards enough, your children can help with gift wrapping.(Just buy lots of tape!)I personally love Christmas trees that have been decorated by the children of the house. You can tell because all the ornaments are at their height or lower! Children and teens can feel proud of baking a favorite family dessert for the holiday, with a little help from you. Hold a family meeting with you, your partner, and the rest of the family, to see who can help with what tasks. This will help everyone sharing the joy of bringing the holidays home, rather than being something else mom organizes late at night instead of sleeping. Each person will enjoy it more if they invest in creating the holiday.

Don't be a perfectionist about the holiday season. You being relaxed and in a good mood is probably the most important thing. Rumor has it Martha Stewart has help, anyway. When there have been big changes in the family this year, and you are now a single parent, or newly divorced, or the family is coping with a seriously ill family member, it is time to rethink what makes sense in your changing situation. Consider a gathering where eveyone brings a dish to share, or you bring food in, or meet out someplace fun for a festive meal instead of a big ordeal. Don't hog all the 'fun' for yourself!

Now is the time to begin the conversation with the people closest to you about the upcoming holiday season. Empower yourself to think creatively. Imagine YOU enjoying the holidays, feeling relaxed, not overspending or overdoing. This could be fun. You are the choreographer of your best holiday season possible. Think consciously about your holidays, and pass it on! Don't be a holiday victim; speak up and shape the holiday you are needing this year.You can be a holday role model for others! 'Tis the season to engage your options and create some new traditions. I'm thinking pizza is red and green!

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