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You’ve worked hard to make this season the best one yet. But are you ready to really enjoy the season?

You’ve decorated, prepared special foods, sent out cards and packages, maybe planned or given a party or had friends over for drinks or dinner. You’ve scheduled time to go to work related parties and activities at your church.

But have you taken the time to think about what makes this holiday enjoyable and meaningful for you?

It’s not too late.

Here are 7 tips to help you enjoy the season:

Make This Holiday Joyful for You

Reflect on what makes the holiday enjoyable for you. Focus in on one or two activities that really “make” the season for you. For me it is putting up my Christmas tree and going to the Christmas eve service at my church.

Know What Gives Others Joy

Communicate with others in your family about what makes you enjoy this season and listen to what makes it enjoyable for them. Your teenager may have a different vision of the perfect holiday than your vision. Compromises need to be made so that everyone gets something. Communication helps everyone see that there are compromises that can give everyone something to enjoy.

Unrealistic Expectations Can Rob You of Joy

Be realistic. Not every activity that everyone wants to do is reasonable. Some holiday experiences take up a lot of time. Some cost more than is in the budget. Have a family meeting and talk it out. Choices must be made. If unrealistic expectations are allowed there will be stress instead of joy. The word “no” will have to be used – not only for others but also for yourself.

Plan But be Flexible and Open to Unexpected Joy

Use a calendar that is shared by everyone. Have everyone’s events blocked out. Also have times blocked out for special food preparation or time together at home. If everyone knows what is planned and what their part is in the activity, then there are no surprises. At the same time be flexible if something comes up that could be a lot of fun that is not planned.

Make a Game Around Your Chores

Lighten up on cleaning. This is not the time to do deep cleaning. Keep up with maintenance chores and delegate. No one in the family should have to do all the cleaning– especially if now there is time off from work or school. Assign tasks so that everyone knows what is expected of them. Do chores together as a family. Make a game of it. Have everyone pull out a card from our deck of Organize Your Home 10 Minutes at a Time, set your timer and see what happens!

Savor and Enjoy Your Food

Be mindful of what you eat and drink. During the holiday there are so many wonderful and enjoyable foods and beverages. It is such a temptation to overeat knowing that you will not see that special food again for a year. Instead take the time to savor the holiday foods. Look at what you are eating or drinking. Admire the beauty or the time that has gone into preparing the food. Take a bite. Let it linger on the tongue. Thank the person who prepared or brought the special treat. Then walk away. You can come back of course but don’t wolf down 3 cookies without even tasting them.

There is Something Joyous About Unplanned Time

Allow empty time. Do this for two reasons. One is that there is something joyous about just sitting down listening to holiday music, watching a special on TV, or reading a book without guilt. Second is that if a planned event must be rescheduled there is some time available to allow it to still happen.

As the holiday winds down, take notes on what was special that made you enjoy this season and what you want to repeat next year. Also note any improvements you would like to make for an even more joyous holiday season next year.

Enjoy your holidays!

If you recognize that you are struggling with prioritizing your goals or want some help or accountability in developing and working your organizational home maintenance plan or other projects, join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space for You virtual support group.

Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of four books as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.

 

 

6 Comments

  • Many of us tend to do the same things every year without giving any thought to how they started or whether they’re still relevant in our lives. This is a great reminder to live in the moment and pay attention to what we’re eating and doing, and to make sure everything we do has a purpose – whether it’s our pleasure or someone else’s.

    • Thanks for recognizing that. When reminiscing on past traditions that have fallen away, it’s interesting to look back on why they were started and what caused them to stop. Then enjoy what we have now.

  • IF you allow yourself the time and space to experience it, there is so much joy available. I love your approach, which involves doing some pre-thought and planning. Also, as a side note, I LOVE that photo you picked of the marshmallow person leisurely floating on top of a hot cup of cocoa. I’m not sure if I want to BE that marshmallow person or make myself some hot chocolate now, but both sound good. 🙂

    The holidays have taken a slight turn for us this year because of rising COVID cases in our area. While my husband and I are fully vaxed and boosted, this doesn’t give us or others full protection from the virus. We just canceled our travel/gathering plans for this week. I’m conflicted, but it feels like a safe choice to make. So I’m leaning into your idea about being flexible. Especially these days, that’s the name of the game.

    Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season with an abundance of joy.

  • Great tips for an enjoyable season. I love that you mentioned planning, but be flexible. I planned activities but didn’t schedule them until closer to the date with the family. Texting worked well since both kids were in college while I was thinking about it. Spending money for events too soon could result in loss of money and increase frustration, especially during the pandemic.

  • Seana+Turner says:

    I love your point about planning, but still being open to unexpected joy. It’s funny, but each year it seems a surprisingly joyful moment pops up that I didn’t plan and wasn’t expecting. It’s like a little burst of joy in a place I never would have considered. One year it was just the peace in the house one night while I was addressing cards. Another year, it was a slow drive through town to look at lights that I took on a whim. The beauty of these special times is that there weren’t any expectations associated with them, so it was simply “bonus pleasure.”

  • Julie+Bestry says:

    I know I’m supposed to be reflecting on the wisdom of your message, but I can’t stop craving hot chocolate with giant marshmallows. Now why would that be? 😉

    I don’t celebrate Christmas, and when Hanukkah is so early as it was this year, it’s hard to feel festive and delighted during these dark December days, and COVID hasn’t helped make things more festive. However, your ideas are giving me pause, and I’m going to work hard to keeping myself open to unexpected joy and try to savor my food more. (I guess that means looking forward to my fortune and Chinese food on Christmas, the traditional activity of my people!)