How to Set Holiday Intentions: Turn the “Holiday Hustle” into a Graceful Waltz

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“I used to be in a hurry. Now I walk as the questions and live as the answers.”
–Byron Katie

The “Holiday Hustle” is on!

The season of rushing and doing has arrived.  Cars bearing Christmas Trees on their rooftops are driving through downtown on their way home.  Snow-flake lights adorn light poles on Main Street.  And, the big question which popped up in my Facebook newsfeed was whether or not it was necessary to write the annual holiday letter.

People weighed in.  For some, writing the letter was a fun, heart-warming summary of their year.  For or others, writing the letter felt like a huge albatross which should be dropped.  What was at the heart of the discussion was the question of motivation.  What was the WHY behind writing the letter?

If we dash headlong into the holidays, doing what we’ve always done, it is easy to:

  • Get caught up in complaining about how much we have to do and how little time we have.
  • Feel annoyed by traffic, fellow shoppers, and the hectic pace of running holiday related errands after work.
  • Spend time feeling inadequate as we compare our lives to the images of perfection in magazine or catalog spreads, or heaven forbid that of our neighbors.

It is so easy to get caught up in the Holiday Hustle, to feel the pressure of it and not realize that we can TAKE CHARGE of our approach to the holiday season.

Here are some questions to ask of yourself, and in doing the asking, will help you SLOW the “hustle” down to a graceful waltz:

  1. What is it, exactly, about the upcoming holiday that is important to me?
  2. What is my motivation, what is my WHY for what I am doing
  3. How do I want to be during this season?
  4. What ways of being do I want to emphasize for myself?
  5. What is my definition for each of these attitudes or characteristics I want to live by?

Over the years, as I’ve asked myself these questions, I’ve been able to more clearly articulate whether or not I am participating in a holiday-related activity out of a desire for genuine connection, or to simply look good, or out of a sense of obligation.

For example, this year I recognize I am once again craving a relaxed, laid-back holiday season.  Last year, relaxed and laid-back meant our household didn’t even bother with a tree; however, this year I believe my definition of relaxed and laid-back can include a decorated tree and likely not much else.

For someone else, relaxed and laid-back may mean full-on decorating, yet, finding a way to do it a little at a time so as to not be overwhelmed.  A friend of mine, who decorates her home from top to bottom, including holiday themed soaps in the bathroom, schedules a day off from work to get her home spruced up.

What will bring me joy?  What will help me savor this holiday season?

I know I’m not alone with the delicious image of sitting in front of a crackling fire with a glass of wine and Christmas music in the background; and yet, the only thing keeping me from moments like this is me.  It turns out savoring begins with me, giving myself the permission to create enough space in my schedule to actually have those moments.

And, I’ve realized, even in my mid-forties, there are still certain cookies which need to be laid out on the platter for it to feel like Christmas.

What is something I can let go of this season which will make things easier and more relaxed?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotten a lot happier as I’ve let go of a certain image in my mind of how things “should” be which is why there is more dust and less decorating in my house.

What is my intention for this gathering?

This question helps me focus on who I want to be: joyful, engaged, and so on; who I want to connect with; and it also helps me decide how many cookies I will eat, or how many glasses of wine I will drink.

Sometimes it can be easier to know what you don’t want, and then from there, be able to work your way towards what you really DO want as part of your experience.

For example, I’m not a fan of chaos, so for me to not have that as part of my experience, I sit down with my planner and block out time for certain activities.  It doesn’t mean things always go according to plan; however, I ward off, with a little planning, the impending sense of doom chaos brings.

So lastly:

What do I not want to have as part of my holiday experience?

How can I support myself in creating the holiday experience I do want?

And, if you’d like some support in creating a peaceful, relaxed holiday for yourself, and the ones you love, please contact me.  As always, I’d love to connect with you.