The holiday decorations have been on shelves for several weeks now (maybe even a month!). Which can be annoying, because we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet or finished our Halloween candy.
But while you might not be ready to take out your menorah or Christmas tree just yet, it is helpful to reflect on what you’d actually like the holiday season to look like ahead of time. Before others decide for you.
Below you’ll find a list of questions to help you figure out what you’d like your season to look and feel like. Pour yourself your favorite holiday-themed drink, such as hot chocolate with marshmallows, put on your favorite holiday tunes, and respond to these questions in your journal.
- What are three words to describe the holiday season you’d like to have? (Some examples: magical, simple, laid-back, big, elaborate, special, calm, joyful.)
- What activities fit into these descriptions? (Put them on the calendar right now.)
- How would you like your house to feel during the holiday season?
- What would you like to stop doing?
- What happened last year that you’d rather not repeat?
- How would you like to navigate gift giving? (Maybe you’d like to do Secret Santa or give experiences or make a donation to a special charity in someone’s name.)
- What feels magical to you?
- What are you most excited about?
- What kind of memories would you like to create?
- How can you reconnect with loved ones?
- How can you reconnect with yourself?
- What traditions would you like to start?
- What feelings do you need to feel? (The holidays aren’t magical for all of us. And that’s OK. Give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you need to feel. Write about it. Talk about it. Focus on taking good, kind, gentle care of yourself.)
The holiday season can be anything you want it and need it to be. Yes, sometimes, we have specific obligations and events that we must attend.
But there are many ways we can make the next two months our own. The key is to start exploring that sooner rather than later. The key is to gain a deeper, fuller understanding of what this looks and feels like for you.
If you have a spouse and kids, consider discussing this as a family. Depending on your kids’ ages, take turns talking about what a beautiful holiday season means to each of you. And then figure out how you can make that happen.
It can feel like there are ten-too-many shoulds when it comes to the holiday season. You should attend every party. You should give expensive gifts. You should make a four-course meal. You should buy the perfect gift. You should bake cookies from scratch. You should exercise. You should stay with your in-laws. You should spend all your time with family. You should be grateful.
But, again, it’s up to you. Maybe you want to bake cookies from scratch, because it’s a special tradition for you with your mother and grandmother. Maybe you love getting cookies from your local bakery. Maybe you want to spend all your time with your family. Maybe you need and yearn for time to yourself.
The liberating thing lies in having a choice.
So what do you really want?