Published on 11/11/2022
Top 10 Ways to Have the Best Holidays Ever
Thanksgiving. Christmas. New Year. With each special day will come the hope that this one will be truly exceptional. However, many of us quickly get bogged down in busyness, stress and old patterns. Here are 10 ways to turn that dynamic around.
1. Give yourself a break. Perfection -- even perfect happiness -- just isn't possible by human efforts. Let your best be good enough. Make a budget for both your time and your money -- and stick to it. It really is the thought that counts.
2. Make conscious decisions. Get clear about what you really want to do over the holidays before compromising with others. If you don't have a clear plan and clear intentions, you might find yourself getting swept along by others' desires. Even if you compromise later, get clear first. Be loving and assertive, share your feeling and tell people what you want. Don't blame them for guessing your wishes wrong. Better yet, be sensitive to what God wants for your relationships.
3. Shorten your to-do list. What do the holidays mean to you? For many, it’s about family and friends and spirituality. If an item doesn’t add to your holiday spirit, scratch it off. Otherwise, be creative! Many years ago, my sister-in-law (who has five kids) suggested each of us to bring one gift on Christmas Eve instead of buying one gift for each person. After dinner, we played a modified version of the "white elephant" game that allows you to "steal" a gift you really like. It has been a big hit ever since!
4. Say no when you want to. It’s very liberating. Try it and see. It sounds simple, but too often obligation trumps desire. When faced with options, choose the one that would make you happier around people and pleasing to your Heavenly Father. It is better to treat people with truth than to go along and be secretly dissatisfied.
5. Limit obligatory activities. If you can't avoid certain events, limit the time you're there. Don't burn yourself out.
6. Take good care of yourself. The old standards help keep stress at bay: eat healthfully, exercise, drink lots of water, and breathe deeply. Please schedule time for relaxation and fun. I love to spend time by myself with the Lord to reflect on His love, goodness and faithfulness.
7. Start early. To avoid a last-minute frenzy that can bust your budget, start shopping or making presents now. If you are not ready for the holidays this year, keep it simple. Just remember that Thanksgiving is a reminder to give thanks in all things; and Jesus Christ is the real reason for Christmas!
8. Ask for help. Don't be self-righteous and feel that everything is up to you. The burden of preparations should not fall upon one person. The more specific you are in your request, the more successful you’ll be.
9. Get support. If a glorious holiday season feels completely out of reach, you may experience the holiday blues. Many people do. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling that way. Reach out for the support you need.
10. Establish new traditions. If you have experienced a major life-changing event, such as a death or divorce, consider doing something you've never done before over the holidays, such as travel to another country or take a cruise or just enjoy in quietness and peace with gratitude.
The pandemic has affected all of us. It reminds us that life is short and unpredictable. Many of us feel trapped, even imprisoned. Let's see how did the Apostle Paul exhorted believers in his letter while he was actually in prison.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:4-7)
Author's content used under license, © Claire Communications
I retired in October and am now a retired California marriage and family therapist. Lord willing, I shall continue to write articles on relationship with God, self and others. You are still welcome to visit ParentingABCtoday.com for additional resources.
Winnis Chiang, founder of Parenting ABC and a retired LMFT, is passionate about helping Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking parents to get along with, enjoy, and positively influence their American-born children.