The holiday season is notorious for being unimaginably busy and bursting with excess of every variety. We all have countless parties to attend, family members to see, gifts to buy, meals to eat, halls to deck, hands to shake, and cookies to bake until the wee hours of the morning. Now, we realize this isn’t news to anyone; we are all aware of the hustle and bustle that is inseparable from the holidays, and inescapable this time of year. As such, we won’t be coming at you with another post about how to keep from over-extending yourself, learning to politely decline invitations, and schedule “me-time” instead. Granted, we do condone all of these things, but this year, we would like to focus on the “attitude” that consumes many of us during the holidays, especially the perfectionists among us. It is an attitude of “more,” of getting it all done, and topping last year’s gifts, wrapping, meal, party favours, or what have you. It is an attitude that distracts from what the season is truly all about. With this post we hope to help you note the difference between abundance, and excess, and tune in to what truly matters.
Tips for Avoiding Holiday Excess:
1) Less is More. How many of you stare at your holiday to-do list, convinced “they’re something missing,” or that you’ve forgotten something crucial. The very mindset that the holidays are a time of excess has us adding items to our lists that truly aren’t necessary; extra courses to an already plentiful meal, or additional stocking stuffers to ensure the sock is positively overflowing as apposed to simply bulging at the seems. Last minute shopping is especially vulnerable to this kind of thinking as we feel the need to compensate for being behind, by “doing more.” We must all be mindful of this now that the holidays are less than a week away! Something else many of us harp over, are tiny details; the bow on the wreath isn’t quite right, or one of the candles is shorter than the others. Attending too closely to such things only serves to distract from what the season is truly about. In preparing your last minute lists and final touches, be sure to only include that which is necessary, or that which you originally intended to spend, or do, or offer. We assure you, it will likely already be more than enough. This way, giving will be nothing but a pleasure, and you won’t resent any part of it. Having your health, and being in the company of those you love most is already more than enough. The rest is just gravy.
2) Do it from the Heart. Not far off from our first tip, this one is about remembering the reason for the season. With each minced pie you fill, table you dress, and candle you light, think about the significance of it all. What do the holidays mean to you? Why do you enjoy them or not enjoy them? In the midst of holiday madness, it is especially important for us to be mindful of our actions and consider “why” we are making such efforts during this time of year. Is it to show our friends and family how much they mean to us? Is it to spend quality time with those we love? Is it to create warm and fond memories for our children? Or is it out of sheer obligation and social pressure? The more you do from the heart, even when overcome with holiday stress and excess, the more fulfillment you will get out of the season, and the less resentment you will carry into the New Year.
3) Make a List, Check it Twice. This is a great exercise to help us recognize the difference between excess, and abundance. Excess is characterized by copiousness in material things; gifts, trimmings, and silver bells on strings. Abundance has to do with your blessings; family, friends, togetherness, health, comfort, and joy… When creating your holiday “to-do” or “to-buy” lists, make a holiday abundance list as well. Here, you will list your blessings, and all the things you are most grateful for in your life, and during the festive season. There is always something to be thankful for, whether it be a wonderful meal, or a warm and safe roof. Reflecting upon your blessings will help remind you of what matters most this time of year. The goal is to have an abundance list that resembles your shopping list in length. We know, tough feat, but challenge yourself and stay mindful of what is most important to you during the holiday season.
We wish you all the most wonderful holiday, filled with the true gifts of the season’s abundance…