Once upon a time…
I had five kids. Still do!
The Christmas countdown was on. Still is!
Another year was coming to a close. Yep, that’s still the case.
And I was stressed! NOT ANYMORE!!!
It’s that time of year when people are putting all kinds of pressure on themselves…from getting last-minute holiday shopping done to planning lofty goals and New Year’s resolutions. I’ve never really been a New Year’s Resolution kinda’ gal, and while I have had periods in my life where I put too much pressure on myself over the holidays, those days are long gone. Thank goodness! I get it though, behind the scenes we desire to love well, give generously, and be better people. I feel exactly the same way!
I don’t love the idea of New Year’s resolutions, and never really have. I think waiting for a new year to make changes to improve our lives is silly, just like I think saving up for Christmas and having an all-out blowout is ridiculous! Sorry…I’m really not a Grinch! In fact, Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year and I’m always striving to be a better version of myself. My feelings of ‘silly + ridiculous’ stem from times when impending stress came as part of the holiday and I had the realization that living in the present is everything because tomorrow is never promised.
Why count down the days to make a change when today is ALWAYS the best day to start?! And as far as gift giving goes, I remember when our five children were young and I found myself feeling like I needed to save up all purchases of any kind for Christmas. I didn’t like that! But, pulling off Christmas for five didn’t always come easily. If I wanted to get them something, I wanted to get it for them now, I didn’t want to have to save up for one day of the year. It was during this time that we made a MAJOR shift in our Christmas gift giving.
So, let me share two things I’ve done to live a little more peacefully over the holidays and into the New Year.
1. A new way to do Christmas.
When our kiddos were little, we adopted a new way to bring more meaning AND less stress to our Christmas. We began modeling our gift giving after the wise men…three gifts each. In this way, our family was able to keep the true meaning of the holiday front of mind and there was so much less pressure. Now that we’re a family with adult children and grandchildren, this looks a bit different, but even as I type this I’m still searching for ways to focus on a holiday season that remains stress-free, peaceful, full of intention, and meaning. I now see the stress level of giving in my own children as they try to deliver Christmas giving to all in their circle; their friends, parents, in-laws, siblings and their own growing families. I have a new idea for all of us moving forward that I’m excited to share with our family this Christmas. I refuse to let the commercialization of this holiday season dictate how we give and cause unnecessary stress. This season should be filled with peace. After all, it’s about the most peaceful person who ever walked the earth, Jesus, and I never want to lose sight of that!
2. No New Year’s Resolutions Here.
About this time last year I stumbled on a social media post that I found intriguing. It was this idea of choosing a ‘word of the year’, basically a guiding word to live by. There’s something special about kicking off a new year with a clean slate, I get it, but I believe the root problem behind New Year’s resolutions is it’s easier to feel like a failure once you slip up, and at that point, lots of people just throw in the towel. It may also have something to do with the fact that while I’m sure the goals we set are things we do truly want to achieve, I don’t think careful planning and strategies are often put in place to help us get from point A to point B. I think New Year’s resolutions are more impulsive in nature. So, last year I gave this ‘word of the year’ a whirl and found it so helpful I wanted to share it with you. It’s simple really, just choose one word that embodies who you want to be and/or what you want to do. It’s not a concrete goal that results in success or failure, but rather something you can implement day to day, week to week, and month to month to guide you in small changes. Last year my word was ‘intention’ because I wanted to live a life filled with more intention, both personally and professionally, and having a guiding word served me well!
Change is difficult and these ideas may or may not work for you, but it’s my hope that at the very least they inspire you to search for ways to bring more peace and less stress to your own life.
Wishing you a safe and blessed Christmas season, and a prosperous and peaceful New Year!