Halloween is next week (and, for those of you in the UK – Guy Fawkes Day is soon approaching). Once those holidays pass, I really start thinking about how to enjoy Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. I will admit that the sometimes it seems that there is too much ‘work’ involved in enjoying this time of year. Decorations, gifts, cooking, baking, entertaining, parties – it can all be so overwhelming!
Was it always like this?
No, it wasn’t. So, let’s concentrate on Christmas – while I remember simpler celebrations when I was younger – even then, there was the commercial component to it. The term ‘Black Friday’ really came into vogue in 1975 – and, we have not looked back. Stores compete to see who opens earlier, and people happily flock to these stores in hopes of cashing in on that big bargain! And, also the potential of a knock-down-drag-out fight (nothing says ‘Merry Christmas’ more than pushing and shoving).
But, maybe the Grinch was right – “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe, my dear, Christmas means a little bit more!” I would actually like to expand this not to just Christmas – but, to every religion that celebrates a rebirth this time of year. Gifts are forgotten – memories together are not!
So, how do you simplify?
- Count your blessings. A sense of gratitude helps you ground yourself in what is important in your life. Commercialism robs us of seeing all the things we are blessed with. Take time to write a few things out and spend time each day contemplating all your blessings. Make it a ritual that you can enjoy!!! This is the idea behind Thanksgiving.
- Prioritize all the things that you ‘want’ to do. Can you cut a few of them out? Do you have to make all those cookies? Do you have to go to another holiday celebration?
- Look at how much you are decorating. I am guilty on this as I love the lights. But, I try to not go crazy trying to get everything perfect. Pick a few things that you want to keep – and, enjoy them this Season. For me, that means hanging ornaments with my husband and listening to Christmas music. It creates a memory – that perfect tree won’t.
- Clean up your eating. What??? Yep. This way – you have a feeling of control over certain aspects of the holiday. Yes, there will be parties and entertaining. There will be toasts, hors d’oeuvres and desserts – and, enjoy in moderation. But, on those days when you don’t have parties or entertain – eat simply and clean. Soup is good for the soul especially if filled with vegetables!
- Make it a priority to spend time with the people you love and just being with them. Spend time together that doesn’t involve giving gifts. Watch Christmas movies, perhaps ask your grandparents what Christmas was like for them. Laugh, play games, take a walk, look at the stars, or look at the neighborhood lights.
I am going to really minimize my Christmas prep this year – and, it will be interesting to see if perhaps I will enjoy it more. I have bought all the gifts before the holiday started. Now, I have a chance to get rid of the commercialism and enjoy what our holiday season really means.