Welcome to another holiday season, where even the most faithful minimalists and simple living enthusiasts find that keeping the holidays about anything other than stuff can be a real kick in the jingle balls.
We are just so used to decking our halls with everything and anything shiny and glittery, filling our calendars with every ho ho-hum holly party and stuffing our gizzards with everything pumpkin, cranberry or peppermint we see (because it’s only here once a year, in limited supplies, right?) Any other month of the year we would never behave this way. It’s like Christmas gives us a hall pass to do “all the things” in excess that we know deep in our hearts can be the root of what actually makes us unhappy. (over-spending, over-eating, over-committing… STRESSING!) This holiday behavior can also cause us to pull out of our own self-loving behavior by not having time to work on our goals, complete our missions and be good to ourselves. I mean, January is right around the corner, we can start again then, right? Being on a path of living a simple meaningful life with less stuff just does not seem to jive during the months of November and December.
So, knowing what we know about how living a life with less gives us so much more, why do we continue to allow the holiday season to take over our mind, body and spirit each and every year AND how does one participate in the most wonderful time of the year without having to go through a complete holiday hangover come January?
Now that we have evolved and know that happiness and joy is not found in over-spending, over -eating and being over-busy, we can certainly continue to honor a simple and meaningful lifestyle, even when Macy’s is having a One Day Sale. Here are ten ways to continue to let go during the holidays but still have a holly jolly time.
5 Ways to Let Go During the Holidays
- Let go of debt – One of the first things to let go of when beginning a new lifestyle of freedom, meaning and happiness is debt. Using the holidays as an excuse to spend money that you do not have (charging is creating debt unless you pay it off right away) is a surefire way to begin your new year in arears. If you enjoy spending extra money during the holidays then start a savings account in Jan for next year and this year find other ways to show you care. Presence is much more important than presents. That sounds hokey, but ask anyone if they would prefer to have you there, hanging out with them, or working an extra part-time job to pay off all of the gifts you bought them. I guess this depends on how much they like you.
- Let go of busyness- These days whomever is the busiest wins. It is worn as a badge of honor. Being too busy can creates havoc in our lives and anxiety in our heart. Life can go by like a blur and you can end up just going through the motions instead of savoring the flavor of the season. Slowing down and taking time to enjoy a cup of cocoa with a friend, or to catch a movie allows that holiday feeling to really sink in. The holidays can create a bunch of super-busy people running around frantically trying to get everything done. Learn how to say no to the things that do not bring you the peace comfort and joy that everybody keeps singing about. Fa la freakin’ La.
- Let go of grudges– Some people in our lives are toxic and the best thing for us and our own happiness is to let them go. Sometimes temporarily and sometimes permanently. This is one of the hardest parts of letting go. There are also some people that have just pissed you off or you just can’t see eye to eye. Use the holidays as an excuse to put old grudges behind you and see the good in the people in your life. Make amends for your mistakes and invite love into your heart. Letting go of these hard feelings allows more Hallmark warm and fuzzy moments enter our hearts. This is the goodwill toward man part. Unless they suck.
- Let go of old traditions– If Making Christmas, making Christmas making Chrisssstmas feels more like dread than delight then it’s time to check yourself before you wreck yourself. Check in and think about what is important to you about the holidays. If spending too much money on gifts and too much time wrapping them with homemade wrapping paper is not in alignment with your values then you have every right to do something else. If it is important to you impress the in-laws with a perfect and elegant Christmas Eve dinner and you really enjoy the challenge, beautiful! But if all the fuss is making you a scrooge then change things up! Create new traditions around what is important to you. Looking at your values can really help. If your top values are Wellness, Peace and Freedom maybe you could go on a retreat for the holidays, or take your family on a stay-cation. If contribution and collaboration are your top values, consider getting your friends together to help a local charity instead of doing your regular gift exchange. Doing can be much more meaningful than over-doing. If you need help discovering your values, consider hiring a Life Coach!
- Let go of guilt-Do you feel like you have to please everybody and if you don’t then you are a less-than (Mother, Husband, friend, person…)? Not doing what (you feel) is expected of you can create a lot of stress and guilt. Feeling guilty for not doing what everyone else wants you to do can make the holidays less than cheerful. When you get that feeling in your stomach when you say YES to going to another Ugly Sweater Party and instantly wondering how you will get out of it and already feeling guilty about it, then you suffer and people are disappointed. Learning the art of saying no is essential for letting go of anything – but especially guilt. Be clear in your communication and let them know that you have decided to keep your calendar clear this season for spontaneous, impromptu cheer. Or you are giving experiences this year instead of stuff. Don’t make excuses or even give reasons for your no. You have nothing to feel bad about. The people you love will begin to appreciate you being so impeccable with your word. No guilt required!
Pip’s Tip: Resist the last-minute urge to splurge. One year I’ve decided to not buy a lot of gifts and I communicated that clearly. When I got to the house, there were tons of presents for me under the tree. Cut to: Christmas Eve at midnight with a full cart maxing out my Target Card. The feelings surrounding this kind of experience reminds me of who I do not want to be. Rushed, spending money that I do not have on meaningless things and feeling inadequate because I did not buy enough. Instead I was up all-night wrapping presents and I was tired and grumpy for Christmas morning. Now that’s a Bah Humbug!
The holidays are here and it’s up to you to enjoy them your way. Finding your joy is the best way for you to share that joy with others. Living a value based life all year long will keep you in alignment with what’s important to you and help you have the Hap Hap Happiest Christmas this side of the Mississip.