How to Make the Most of the Holidays with Intention

Bringing Meaning Back to Your Holidays

Have your holidays lost their meaning to the pressure of balancing finances with buying the right gifts, getting your work done before the end of the year and attending/planning events? The end of the year can often be the busiest time of year, so how can we really savor what should be a meaningful time with those we love without failing to fulfill our obligations?

Regardless of which holidays you celebrate, you can choose what you celebrate and why with intentions. While observing and staying true to what your spirituality calls for, the holiday season is a time for personal fulfillment and joy with the connection. But, how can you do it all and still find time to take care of yourself and get to do what you want? The answer is simple: you don’t have to do it all.

The holidays are about what and who you value, so it’s okay to set boundaries to ensure you are celebrating things aligned with your core values that fill your cup. It’s important to rest and recharge so that you can come into the new year with confidence, happiness and enough energy to take action on your dreams and intentions.

De-clutter Your Traditions

One aspect you can evaluate when going through the holidays with intention is choosing your traditions. Is there a tradition you carry on as an obligation or without second thought that doesn’t give you any joy? Continuing a tradition that has sentiment attached can be nourishing for the soul if it connects you to the past or family, but if winding lights and garland around your stair rail does nothing but drain you, you don’t have to do it!

You can also adjust or replace traditions with one you’d like to start and carry on for years to come. Maybe you want to start a Christmas movie night, go ice skating or watch carolers perform—whatever you find that fits your family or brings you joy can be your new tradition.

However, deciding which traditions to keep, change or start can be difficult because we sometimes perform a tradition simply because it’s just that: a tradition. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you evaluate your traditions:

  1. Does this tradition bring me joy?
  2. Do I do this tradition because of obligation or because I want to? If it’s out of obligation, what is the obligation? Is it worth it?
  3. What traditions do I not want to let go of? 
  4. What traditions are my least favorite? Why do I do them? Can I go without?
  5. What is a tradition I’ve always wanted to do? What is stopping me and is it enough of a reason to keep me from doing it?

Protect Your Peace

The holiday season can be filled with so many events, responsibilities and social situations. It’s important now more than ever to prioritize self-care and set boundaries so that you can fully enjoy all that the holidays have to offer, instead of being drained and resenting everything that comes with it.

If you struggle to find time to practice self-care, make time for it in your schedule. If you’re already out shopping for a day, schedule a salt float or sauna visit while you’re out. If you know you have a big day of decorating coming up, take a bath or clean the house and do laundry the day before—everyone’s self-care looks different.

But, no amount of self-care can nourish you if you over-commit and don’t set boundaries. Even though it can be especially hard to say no to things and people during the holidays, it’s so important to protect your peace so that you can slow down and truly enjoy the season and time with those you love. If you struggle with saying no and determining when is an appropriate time to set boundaries for your own well-being, you can read more on that here.

Make Meaningful Memories

What do you want to get out of the holiday season? Do you want to celebrate your religion, spend valuable time with loved ones or savor a break from everyday life? This is where intentions come in.

What are you lacking or in need of this holiday season? Set intentions that support that. If you set an intention to make long-lasting memories with loved ones, take steps to make that happen such as decorating together, making a special meal, having a gathering, going ice skating or doing a seasonal experience, etc.

If you feel like time passes by too quickly during this time or that you don’t get to spend as much time with loved ones as you would like, set an intention to slow down and be more present. You can support this by limiting your commitments and being intentional about how you spend your time. Sometimes, we have to take up a role that we haven’t before as a planner or communicator to ensure that this time comes together, but that’s also a great opportunity to try something new while bringing people together.

It may seem easier said than done, but to get what you want out of a holiday season, set aside some time to find out what you want first, then set your intentions and find ways to implement them into your plans during this time.

Journal Prompts for Holiday Healing

For some of us, the holidays can be especially difficult and emotionally taxing as they can emphasize loss. Whether it be the passing of a loved one or estrangement from a difficult relationship, it can be hard to go through a season of joy and connection with a reminder of what we don’t have anymore. While it can be a time to celebrate what we had before the loss, it’s also a time to seek healing from those wounds.

Healing is a continuous process, but here are some journal prompts to foster healing while processing all of the emotions that come with it so that it's still possible to enjoy the holiday season:

  1. What still hurts about this loss?
  2. What am I grateful for from this relationship?
  3. What have I learned from this experience?
  4. How can I honor this relationship from the past in the present?
  5. What steps can I take to move on while still acknowledging my pain and the good things about this person?

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