I was raised in a large farm family in Saskatchewan. My mother loved Christmas and always made it a very special family time. One of my fondest memories as a child is each of us getting dressed in our best outfit, then lining up oldest to youngest and walking down the stairs to the dining room where a beautiful Christmas tree stood with its’ treasures beneath it. It was both a solemn and joyful occasion.
Christmas was also a cause for celebration in the tiny hamlet close to our farm, with the whole community attending the special events. Church services, concerts, special gatherings, and outdoor skating or sledding despite the cold!
While we still enjoy some of those things today, most people now live in an urbanized environment. And whether we like it or not, we’re faced with Santa’s in every mall, noisy hustling and bustling, long line-ups in stores, and the consumer frenzy of buying “things” for the people in our lives.
So, have we lost the true meaning of Christmas – the celebration of Hope, Love, Peace and Joy?
I think not. However, during this season, let's take time to remind ourselves of the many ways in which our lives are blessed rather than stressed! Here are a few tips and practices for relaxing and enjoying this wonderful time of the year:
1. Apply the K.I.S.S. principle:
Keep It Super Simple throughout the holiday season. Apply this rule to everything - gifts, events and entertainment. Stock up your pantry, fridge and freezer with ready to serve snacks and goodies. Give yourself the gift of time to relax with people you care about, have great conversations and lots of fun.
2. Create a food plan:
If you are hosting guests and meals or parties, create detailed menus listing every item you plan to serve. Then use this detailed menu to create your grocery list - reducing the chance of not having an item in the middle of preparing an important meal.
3. Identify and avoid all energy drainers:
There are people, situations and activities that regularly sap our energy. Energy drainers can be hard to identify, especially if you've lived with them for years. They might even feel normal. Take some time to re-consider commitments and plans. And as much as you can, eliminate or avoid what depletes you.
4. Ask for support:
If you are the host/hostess this year, be sure to ask people to contribute. It not only lessens the workload; it helps people feel like an important part of the festivities.
5. Practice mindfulness:
The hectic pace of daily life often deprives us of appreciating what's happening in the moment and counting our blessings. Mindfulness is the art of being in the moment; the non-judgmental awareness created by simply paying attention.
I hope the Spirit of Peace, Love, Joy, and Hope surround you and your loved ones this Christmas.