How to Reclaim Your Peace and Enjoy More of your Holiday Season

The holiday season can be one of the busiest times of the year for you, especially if you have kids. With Hanukkah, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day right around the corner, you are probably rushing around trying to get everything done. Your schedule is probably packed with events & parties, visitors or traveling, decorating& shopping, and an all-around longer than usual to-do list.

A lot of the holiday stress is brought about by some level of societal conditioning and expectations that have made it okay to indulge in consumerism and add extra commitments. Below are some recommendations that stem from a minimalist mindset. They can help you re-evaluate and change the mindset that you have developed about the holidays over the years. These minimalist philosophies can also help you identify what to keep and what to remove.

  1. Reevaluate your commitments: In an effort to make the most of the holiday season or out of your mere obligation to others, you overcommit. You say yes to work & social parties, kid events such as school shows & holiday-themed excursions, family drama and/ or who to invite over on the day of the actual holiday (e.g., extended family). It`s okay to decline invitations and it is also okay to not invite and cook for all of your extended family members. Choose who and what would genuinely add magic or spark joy to your holidays and stick to only that.
  2. Excessive gift buying: Gift-giving adds debt, obligation, and financial burden to the life of the gift-giver. Giving gifts is not only expensive, but it also takes up all your energy and can cause you to experience decision fatigue. Our culture has made it acceptable for our kids to expect a lot of presents: movies and cartoons portray Christmas to be about writing Santa a list of desired presents. Your Christmas tree or Hanukkah dinner table may feel empty if there are only four presents under it versus twenty, and pressure from social media and peers make kids feel like they must compare themselves to others leading them to want to receive similar-if not better things. It is also a part of our culture to include gift-giving to others. One example of this is the Secret Santa parties. However, over half of us will receive unwanted gifts this holiday season- gifts we will never use or just repackage for the next holiday season.  You can identify what is special for your family to keep and collectively decide what to remove. Make a budget and decide how much you want to spend this season. You can have a conversation with your kids about the importance of making memories instead of giving gifts. For example, you can offer them an experience or create magical memories and traditions such as baking holiday cookies the night before in matching pajamas and listen to holiday music. Kids tend to remember memories and experiences more than the extra toys they received. You can also create and make different holiday decorations, presents, and holiday cards with your family versus buying them.
  3. Overspending & Time: During the holiday season, you can also overspend money and time on the events and commitments you have made. The more parties you have to attend, the more tickets or outfits you have to buy. For example, you may have to purchase an ugly sweater for that ugly sweater party or take hours to make your all-famous dessert for a party. Choose how to invest your time wisely, because after all the season is only two weeks long.

This holiday season gives yourself permission to spend less, do less, and stress less so that you can embrace more magic & memories and attain more peace & joy.

 Dr. Yiolanta Sofiali-Brunvert


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