10 Tips for More Meaningful Holidays
By Barbara Hemphill
No matter how many lists you make, cards you send, gifts you buy, or packages you wrap, there will be things you
intended to do this holiday season that won't get done. If you do manage to get everything done, but you're too
tired to enjoy the season, everyone suffers.
Consider these tips to minimize your stress and maximize the meaning this holiday season:
1. Tamper with tradition. Dragging yourself through "we've always done it" rituals when they've lost their
meaning, and you've lost your energy, does not contribute to holiday joy.
2. Begin the season by making a list - but don't stop there. Pick out the most important item, the second, and
on down the list. Remember, a creative mind always has more ideas than the body can accomplish!
3. Use your calendar - not just for appointments with other people, but with yourself as well. If you plan to
send cards, estimate how much time it will take to write and address them, and block out that time on your
4. Ask your family what’s important. Prepared foods instead of home-cooked means more time for sharing new
sports equipment and relaxing with friends.
5. Avoid perfectionism in gift-giving. It's the thought that counts. Choose one or two gifts that can be used
for several people. A relaxed parent or hostess is a greater gift than anything money can buy.
6. Focus your energy. If your family isn't as excited as you are about decorating the whole house, invest your
efforts on what means the most to you.
7. If the holidays bring pain because of death, divorce, or family far away, be gentle with yourself. Recognize
that grief is a healthy and that next year will be better, even if you can't believe it today. Concentrate on
making other people's holiday more joyful.
8. Take time out from total togetherness. Let your child call a friend and take a nap. Give your siblings the
car keys and a map. The idea is for everyone to enjoy the occasion.
9. Be clear about expectations. If you never tell your family what you want them to do, it’s unfair to expect
them to know.
10. Look over your list, leave off what you can live without, and enjoy the real reason for the season.
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