Each morning we opened a small window on our Advent calendar, counting down the days to Christmas Eve. We spent days skiing the hills surrounding our village and evenings walking around the neighborhood, admiring lights and window decorations. It was a time filled with promise and wonder.
Keeping that tradition of closeness and joy alive was easy when my own kids were small. As they got older, however, it became increasingly difficult to reconnect with the true spirit of the season and December turned into a month of busyness. Between holiday parties, my work, and last minute gift shopping, I felt that something essential was getting lost each year.
I’d always loved the darkness of the winter months. To me, they are an invitation to turn inward and create warmth, light, and deep joy. And here I was, overwhelmed by the craze and hustle of it all, feeling pressured in overcrowded stores or fighting over parking spaces.
That’s when I decided to make the holidays my own.
I stopped giving into the season’s frenzy and began doing what’s important to me: having time for devotion, contemplation, and the quiet joy of feeling alive.
You can do the same.
December doesn’t have to be stressful, no matter what holiday you celebrate. The key is deciding what kind of experience you want to create. What’s important to YOU during this time of year? Do you want to connect with friends and family, deck the halls, give gifts, sing and celebrate? Or, do you prefer having quiet time to gain clarity, reflect on the passing year, and make room for the new?
Whatever your idea of the perfect holidays, make it a priority and say NO to everything else.
Start by sitting quietly for a few minutes with your eyes closed, picturing the experience you want to create. Then open your eyes, write down your top priorities, and take the necessary steps to initiate the change you desire.
Each year, we approach the holidays with the secret hope that our life will be transformed.
I encourage you to turn that hope into reality by finding ways to nurture yourself and create space for transformation: go for long walks, take hot baths, cuddle up on your favorite chair and read a good book, do yoga, cook wholesome food, and envision the year ahead.
In my experience, the lighter you feel in body and soul, the less you need the modern holiday frenzy. If you take time to reconnect with your inner light, you can start the New Year feeling rested, refreshed, and in love with your life.
As always, thank you for reading.
P.S. What are your ideas for reclaiming the holidays and making this time of year about what you truly value? Please share in the comments below or write to me. I’d love to hear from you.