This time of year can appear so picturesque. We imagine the lights, scents, events and joy that tends to accompany the season. Though, when November and December arrive, we often get overwhelmed with a list of things we “need to do!” Has this holiday rush ever taken you or your family away from enjoying the season? In this chaos, it is easy to hurry through the season by filling it with things we need to do. In turn, we can miss some important intentional moments we could have.
5 Ways to Create an Intentional Holiday Season
- Develop a new family tradition. Some families engage in religious activities such as keeping an advent calendar or Jessy tree. Others like to spend time decorating together or making an old family recipe. Whatever it is, spend some time thinking about things you can do to cultivate a more intentional holiday season by creating new traditions. Over the last few years I have started to bake homemade pies during the holidays, all from scratch. These pies are time consuming, tiring and absolutely delicious. It is simple, but nevertheless an intentional holiday act that is filled with love. As time has gone on, my family looks forward to these special pies, accompanied with homemade whipped cream each year.
- Give back. Spend time with your children and loved ones by serving others locally who need help this season. There are many local food banks, clothing centers and community facilities that need extra help during the holidays in order to serve folks throughout the community. As a child, I remember making stocking with my friends and mom, then filling them with treats and small toys to deliver to the local hospital for children to enjoy. This was the highlight of my holiday season and I thoroughly enjoyed giving back to others.
- Talk about the meaning of the holidays with your family. Do your children know why you celebrate this time of year? Is there an important reason that you spend time preparing and anticipating the season? Most would answer yes to this, though truthfully we can forget to address the root of why we celebrate and get caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle. Take an evening or two to set aside time to discuss what the season means to each of you.
- Incorporate storytelling. Movies are fun during this time of year but so is storytelling! Spend time reflecting on old family stories that bring about the holiday cheer to your home. This is a simple way to incorporate quality time and to honor our past generations.
- Forgo family gifts. Yes, it can sound crazy, though so much beauty can come from omitting your family from personal gift giving for one year. Last year, my husband and I decided to forgo gift giving with each other and instead use that money to purchase chickens, rabbits, eggs and goats for a family in need abroad. This decision was made with intention and gratitude. Truthfully, we are so thankful for all of our current gifts and we did not see the need for purchasing more for ourselves. Interested? Check out World Vision to learn more.
These are just a few ideas to get you started for an intentional holiday season. What other things can you add to this list? Just remember, you are allowed to slow down, savor and enjoy the season.
-Written by Emily De La Torre, LMHC
Looking for more holiday reading? Check out Simple Ways to Manage Stress During the Holidays.