Create Your Holiday Happiness: A How-To Guide for Savoring the Joy of the Season
Written By Expert Aswynn Willowroot
The holidays create mixed emotions in all of us. We typically experience varying levels of stress. Even though holiday celebrations can sometimes fall short of our expectations, the truth is they serve an important purpose. They are not merely archaic traditions from a less civilized time. The holiday season takes us from one significant period of our lives to the next. It invites us to reexamine our spiritual and philosophical truths and ideals in order to enter the New Year with a renewed sense of hope and optimism.
It's possible to create an authentic and deeply meaningful holiday, no matter what your holidays have been like in the past. In just a few quick and easy steps you can take charge of your holiday experience and direct its entire course and outcome.
1. Create a holiday game plan. What would a "nourishing" holiday look like for you? What activities, events, people or experiences would make this holiday so fulfilling -- so very wonderful -- that you could hardly stand to experience it? Map out only the things which hold the most meaning for you while emphasizing quality over quantity. Do what makes you happy.
2. Pass on holiday perfectionism. There is no "perfect" Hanukkah. There is no such thing as an iconic "picture perfect" Christmas either. The planet will not cease to rotate on its axis if the tree is not aligned to catch the sunlight at dawn Christmas morning. Holiday miracles and magic happen when we get out of our own way. Let go and allow the holiday to unfold as it will.
3. Savor simple yet significant holiday moments. In the flurry of activity we often lose sight of some of the most precious holiday moments hidden in the most simplistic of activities -- like frying up a warm tasty batch of latkes with a most beloved bubbe or driving through the neighborhood to enjoy the sparkle of holiday lights at night. Even spending an hour chatting over a cup of hot chocolate with a good friend can hold significant holiday value and meaning. Slow down and savor simple pleasures.
4. Cultivate a spirit of genuine gratitude and giving. Thankfulness doesn't end at midnight Thanksgiving Day. If you have a job in this economy, you're extremely fortunate. If you still have a home, you're doubly blessed. If you're in good health, you're richer than you can imagine. Pay your blessings forward. Infuse hope, love and generosity into an all-too-often dreary world. Give what you can and be grateful for all you have been given.
5. Begin to reinvent yourself for the New Year. Let's face it -- 2012 was not a banner year for a lot of people. Closing out 2012 to welcome in 2013 will probably prove to be a bit of a relief for many. What are your goals and aspirations? Shift your thinking to see this holiday season as the kick-off period to launch a new, fresh version of yourself. Your life is a blank canvas. Set these goals in motion. Give yourself the best holiday gift imaginable -- a happier, healthier "you."
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