Everyday Inspirations


~ how to ~

Yesterday I called Ashley because I had to tell her how much her post yesterday inspired me. After a series of unfortunate events I was in one hell of a mood and her little holiday rant was exactly what I needed to hear. You'd think this time of year people you see out and about would be extra generous, joyous and courteous. Instead when you face the crowds during the holiday season, you meet parking lots, stores and checkout lines full of raging, greedy people who don't have patience to wait for anything. I nearly got run over by someone's cart the other day. Did the woman stop to apologize? No. Her shopping was obviously more important than my safety. There's something about this shopping pressure that turns normally kind people into idiots. All that being said, I think it is possible to savor the holiday season and not get caught up in the chaos. Here are my top five favorite things that help me keep the holidays in perspective and savor the season.

Follow traditions. Traditions represent a legacy of joy and excitement we share with loved ones. I decorate the tree with my family and reminisce trips where we bought ornaments. Every year my brother and I come up with a new dessert recipe we've never made to share with the family. On Christmas Eve we each open one gift. These are the things I remember and look forward to from year to year and make my heart smile.  

Embrace the people you love. This time of year brings together people I love -- immediate family, in-laws, friends I see regularly, and friends I haven't seen in all too long. This week I will be seeing all of those and that makes me happier than ever. These people are really what make the season the beautiful time it is and when I focus on that, the lady rear-ending my cart is a little easier to deal with.

Remember the joy of giving. Here's where people get stressed. They have to buy a gift for all these people and have no idea what to get. They rush around the busy mall trying to find something, only to battle other frustrated people. It's hard to get excited about giving in this scenario. I counteract this with a few things. First I really try to buy ahead all year. I know that doesn't help you 13 days before Christmas, but when I see something I buy it and save it for December. Goal for next year perhaps? Next, whenever I can, I buy online. There's a much bigger selection and you don't even have to get in your car much less fight traffic, angry mobs and winter weather. Finally, I keep it simple and try to really think about each person before shopping. For me the joy isn't how much I spend or the number of gifts I give, but how meaningful the gift is. I want it to be personal because the joy of giving for me is about finding something I know they will cherish.

Send kindness to others. If you're feeling like a Scrooge, try doing something for someone else. Bake a loaf of bread and bring it to work. Shovel your neighbor's walk. Volunteer at or donate to the homeless shelter. Give a needy family presents. Bringing others joy is sure to allow you to remember the happiness of this season. 

Try to slow down and take it in. There are so many parties to attend and errands to run, but sometimes you just need a breather to put it in perspective. You shouldn't run yourself into the ground to make it everywhere. Take time to enjoy the holidays exactly how you want to, rather than just the way you're "supposed to." If that means snuggling at home by the Christmas tree with your family instead of going to the eight parties you've been invited to that night, so be it.

Hope you all have a happy holiday and can savor this amazing time of year.
12/12/2010 09:07:59 am

Beautiful post! Love the photograph too!

12/12/2010 01:00:31 pm

Ohmygosh! your post reminded me that in cleaning the house for company, cleaning the garage (for the first time since early '09), and helping a friend today, I totally forgot to shop! I know what to buy everyone - I think - but no time. Now what am I going to do? I have one or maybe two days ... hmmmmm help me hannah!


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