We look forward to the holidays all year … yet time and time again, it gets here and the vast majority of us are too busy to actually slow down and enjoy it. If this year, you want to really feel like you savored the holidays, then check out these five simple things you can do to be present this holiday season.
1. Don’t do all things.
Wait what? Isn’t that counterintuitive? How can you savor the holidays if you don’t do everything? You can relish in your favorite holiday activities by taking them in and not over-committing. Be selective about your commitments this year. For example, don’t go to every single holiday party you’re invited to if it stresses you out. Don’t join the office gift exchange or volunteer to bake the cookies if you know you’ll have to stay up extra late to make it happen. It’s okay to set boundaries for yourself so you can show up and be your best self for the activities and events that matter to you.
Pro tip: Only you can decide what these activities are. What events or activities would you truly miss if you didn’t attend?
2. Plan time to relax and take it all in.
Whatever “relaxing” looks like to you, make it so. Whether it’s curling up by the fireplace with your favorite holiday classics, baking cookies, or finishing that book. Planning time to enjoy your holiday decorations and the season will help you feel like you experienced the holidays this year. Whether it’s sipping hot cocoa with a friend by your tree or enjoying a cookie for 15 minutes without checking your smartphone, these special “holiday moments” will fill your tank.
3. Plan to enjoy the holiday to-dos.
Everyone’s to-do list seems to get longer around the holidays. Make a plan to get things done, so you’re not scrambling at the last minute. More important, make them fun. Chances are you need to wrap gifts … so why not turn that into a fun night? Put on on your favorite holiday movie and make some hot chocolate to enjoy while you wrap. Heading shopping? Download an audiobook or put on your favorite podcast and listen while you shop.
4. Make a holiday thankful list.
People tend to be more aware and more present in their own life when they’re actively making a list of things they are grateful for. Studies show that people who keep gratitude journals are not only happier but typically healthier. Is there a better season to start a gratitude journal that right now?
5. Do one thing that reminds you of your holidays as a child.
Everyone has different traditions, and over time they evolve, change, and sometimes they’re replaced by new ones. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it can be meaningful to revisit old traditions. Think about what your favorite thing about the holiday season was as a child and reimplement it this year. Was it ice skating? Grab an apple cider and go watch kids skate. Did you use to enjoy a special meal? Bring that recipe out this year! Whatever it was, take time to remember and reminisce this year.