The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Deana at Your Happy Stuff.
One thing I am planning to do differently this year is ask myself this question about every single holiday activity that makes my list:
How can I make this more meaningful?
Making things more meaningful isn’t expensive.
Making things more meaningful is fun.
Making things more meaningful doesn’t require a ton of extra work.
To create a meaningful holiday, you really need two things:
Creativity and Acceptance.
1. Get creative around your holiday traditions.
Perhaps it’s time to say goodbye to the logistically exhausting traditions that you do every year because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” and infuse a select few with more meaning.
For example, instead of flipping on the TV so the kids can be entertained by holiday movies morning, noon, and night; maybe this year you plan a few family movie nights where you make an event of watching a holiday movie together – with hot cocoa and popcorn.
2. Acceptance is all about going with the flow.
One thing that can derail and unnerve us is when we have an idea, put our plan into action, and then try to control the outcome.
I think what makes family gatherings venture off into stress-land is when we don’t accept that everyone is going to experience things individually – and sometimes that means they won’t find certain things as meaningful as you do.
In the example above, let’s say my sixteen year old didn’t want to sit through an entire movie with us. I could insist that he stay because it’s a “meaningful” holiday experience, dang it (and then have hurt feelings when he goes to his room to play video games). OR I could just accept that what he finds interesting and meaningful is personal to him.
Accepting others without layering guilt or control on top of situations can feel super meaningful.
A meaningful experience I’m playing with this year:
When I started to make my holiday plans a few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to find a creative and fun way to share how much I love my family with an “out of the ordinary” experience each day during the month of December.
I had seen a creative advent calendar in a magazine recently and got inspired to hybrid my own version. My intention is to fill each little compartment with a fun and memorable token or experience that conveys my love.
With a little planning and a lot of hands-on help from my kids, putting this together has been super easy. If you are interested in making one for your family, I put a printable below that will make the process speedy and easy for you.
How this works:
Each day during December my family members will take turns opening tiny tokens that express my love for them.
For example, my husband will open a token one day, then my son, then my daughter, and so on. We’ll plan this out in advance to make sure that the rotation is fair.
When it’s someone’s turn to open a token, they’ll find a little item with a note from me inside.
Things they may receive include:
A chapstick with a note that reads, “Your smooches are the best! I love you.”
A tiny flashlight that can be clipped to a keychain or backpack with a note that reads, “You are a bright spot in my day.”
Some money and a note that reads, “You are so generous. Please decide where to donate this money.”
I went on a treasure hunt one afternoon to gather up my little tokens (just do a little pre-planning by using the printable below). My most expensive token cost $3.
To make the calendar:
My kids spray painted an old frame we found in the garage and put a piece of foam poster board inside it, then we took twelve toilet paper tubes (that we started collecting a few weeks ago) and cut them in half. We wrapped the tubes in some cute paper and hot glued them to the foam board. The tokens will be
put in the tubes and hidden away with a bit of tissue paper that is held in place by some of my daughter’s tiny hair bands.
Voila! I’m not crafty, so it’s not perfect. But it’s loaded with meaning.
Whether you create your own Love & Surprises calendar or not, the point is this:
See if you can’t trim away excess holiday schedule clutter this year and use a little creativity and acceptance to infuse a few experiences with extra meaning.
Feel free to share some ideas that you might try this year to make your holidays more meaningful!
Deana Ward of Your Happy Stuff loves helping overwhelmed women simplify and calm their lives. As a breakthrough life coach and creator of the 4-week rut buster, Happiness Hotwire, she helps her clients decide how they want to live and gives them simple steps and accountability to make it happen. Be sure to get your FREE gift and weekly tips from Deana over at Your Happy Stuff. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.
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