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Are you Dreading the Holidays? 6 Tips to Find the Joy

Now that December is upon us, I feel a little panic, knowing that I only have a few weeks to get everything ready for the big day. It can be difficult to summon enthusiasm for the season when you are already running a tight schedule and are now further surrounded by the hubbub and added demands that the holidays bring. So, how can we recapture the magic of the season, and not feel, when all is said and done, that it has passed us by and left us wanting? In order to experience joy this holiday season, I am going to keep reminding myself of the following:

  1. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect. While I might want my house to look like a page out of Style at Home, my kids are sentimental and just want to see the same decorations that we have been putting up since they were little. The meaning is in the tradition, and they take comfort and pleasure in that.
  2. I don’t have to do it by myself. Again, I go back to my family. They love to be a part of the journey, helping to decorate, preparing meals, cleaning up with music playing in the background. These can be some of our most joyful moments and memories of the season. I also love potlucks for larger gatherings with friends and family!
  3. It’s not about the stuff. We often find ourselves struggling to find that ideal gift that is going to be the big hit. Next year, however, if asked, most people are hard-pressed to remember what they gave and what they received. What they do remember, is the time they shared together. That tells me that a) I don’t have to stress over the presents, and b) I should keep the gift-giving simple and not let it tax our budget, which could add financial stress to the holidays.
  4. The simple gatherings are often the most enjoyable. Decorating the tree, followed by watching a holiday movie is a seasonal highlight in my home. It’s doing something together, but also allows me to put my feet up and relax!
  5. Getting exercise and fresh air are critical to my happiness, and I need to ensure that I continue to do these activities even though it is the busy month of December. This means that I sometimes have to say “no” and cannot participate in everything that is happening. I can, however, be flexible. My outdoor activity might be going for a walk with my daughter to see the Christmas lights, or going skating with my husband at the local rink instead of my usual exercise. This way I get exercise, fresh air and enjoy some special time with family.
  6. Bing Crosby sang it best in White Christmas – I am going to count my blessings. The holidays are a great time to reflect on what we are grateful for – family, friends, being Canadian, antibiotics… the list goes on! It is not a time for lamenting on what we don’t have or how we might wish things were different. It’s a time of celebration and a time to be joyful in the moment.