So, this is it. Wish-lists are taking shape and plans are coming together.

Yup, Christmas is fast approaching! A time when our hectic lives become even more frenzied – cleaning, cooking, shopping, wrapping – Ahhh the joys! After all, there’s so much to do on top of our regular responsibilities. But, amongst all of this, how do we move beyond the superficial? Is there a better way to let family and friends know that we have them in mind?

Finding the time to nurture special relationships can be challenging. Here’s the thing though, when we make the holidays all about stuff and consumption, we remove opportunities for sincere connection – even though that’s exactly what we crave.

So, if the mere thought of the festive season’s to-do’s become completely overwhelming, start by reframing your thinking. Instead of thinking, “I have to go to this party. I have to get this gift. I have to decorate my tree,” shift to “I get to go to this party because I have amazing friends who want me around. I get to buy this gift because I am lucky enough to have loved ones in my life. I get to decorate my tree because it brings joy.” This is the time to take on the attitude of gratefulness and opportunity to love and appreciate one another.

Be intentional about your time and energy this Christmas and prune your to-do list. Knock down the list of chores to rock bottom necessities. Cut-the-clean; focus on cleaning the kitchen and the bathrooms, private areas can slide till season’s end. Spend as little time as possible in front of the stove. Have delicious cold cuts and healthy salads or a truly South African braai! Spending time with family and friends – that’s the true meaning of Christmas.  

Rethink gifts and give acts of kindness. There is so much pressure during the festive season to buy loved ones the most ideal gifts when all we really need to feel loved is good company and meaningful conversation. If you do feel the need to buy gifts, limit it to kids only and have the adults pitch in and buy a gift for a needy family. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to no longer find gifts for people that have everything they need?

Extend an invitation. Make plans to shop together, watch a holiday movie or grab a cup of tea. Friends and family going through a tough time often need extra support during the festive season. The best gift you can provide is to truly connect and show that you care.

Appreciate each other’s differences. Ask yourself: “Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right?” For some of us there are added complications such as difficult in-laws or an ex. Instead of trying to alter someone’s viewpoint, find a way to reconnect. Redirect the conversation, reminisce about happy holiday memories or talk about upcoming plans.

Also, remember to take care of yourself. Your time is precious too. Be conscious of what you put into your body, rest and exercise. And, if you feel the need to go out into the garden to weep, do so.

May you enjoy magic and joy of friends and family this Christmas!

Source: womanandhomemagazine.co.za, countryliving.co.uk, www.skillsyouneed.com, christmas.organizedhome.com, www.marthastewart.com, washingtonpost.com, huffingtonpost.com, attitudemag.com, lifehacker.com, psychcentral.com

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.