When the holidays come around, our society has undergone many mood swings when it comes to exactly how to celebrate. Spending time with family competes with shopping sprees and gift giving. Commercialism and keeping up with others can overtake any actual relaxation or enjoyment of what could be a truly special time of the year.
I look at it from that standpoint of someone who clears up the debris left over from so many holiday celebrations. I see the aftermath in an excess of decoration, the unwanted gifts, the unread holiday cards and especially in the level of stress in my clients.
No matter what your faith or beliefs during the holidays, there are ways to reduce the stress and enjoy the season. This is a time when work typically slows down, kids are out of school and there is a celebratory feel in the air. Take advantage of this down time and take the opportunity to be mindful about what is really important to you and your family.
My top 5 tips for reducing stress and staying organized this holiday season:
Take stock and purge your holiday decor before buying new
And really pay attention to those pieces of holiday cheer that have real meaning to you. On our tree, our daughter loves to make new creations every year but always we have the ornaments I made with my grandmother when I was a kid. And the Minnie & Mickey ornaments my husband and I bought when we got engaged at Disney World. They make us happy. Declutter your tree and decor to where each piece feels right, not forced. Extra credit goes to reducing the amount of decorating you do unless it’s something that truly brings you a thrill. Less decorating means more time to relax, and less clean up afterwards.
Accept only those invitations that make you smile
If you force yourself to attend everything, where will you find time for yourself and your family? Pick and choose thoughtfully to place value on the time you can spend reflecting on the year and focusing on those who are important in your life. Come up with a true and valid way to say ‘no’ to things you’d rather not do.
Be mindful that experiences are more valuable that things
When considering gifts, it really is the thought that counts. Do your kids need one more toy, or could they experience the joy of giving to those in need? Do you need another sweater or could you spend time with a friend you haven’t seen in a while? Don’t buy things because you think you should. Only bring new things into the home that have real purpose and meaning.
If one of your goals for the new year is to get more organized, start now!
Take stock of what you own and donate as much as you can. There are so many in need who could use what is just clutter to you. The first step to being more organized is to identify what you own and purge what you don’t need. It’s amazing how less clutter frees the spirit and the mind.
Think about what the holidays mean to you and your family
Slow down and embrace your traditions, your culture, your space. Make the holiday season work for you, don’t let it boss you around! Resist paying attention to what others are doing, what is being shown on TV or social media, and pressure to do more than is comfortable. Less is so much more at this time of year in that what you do has meaning and can be fully appreciated and enjoyed.
NOTE: These aren’t Pinterest type tips (spray glitter on your reclaimed wreath! create magical gift wrap by hand pulping shredded bark!) but more introspective thoughts. This is what makes our holidays special…by being present in the moment and celebrating with the people and things that bring us joy.
Photo Credit: The Container Store