What do you want to hold in your heart this holiday season?

christmas-decoration-490860_640The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming!

No surprise there, but they do seem to appear earlier and earlier each year. I stopped by World Market before Halloween and was delightfully surprised to be surrounded by delicious holiday goodies from around the globe. One hour later when I was back home admiring my mini-Panetonne (to be enjoyed at a later date) and my German Lebukkehan (opened, and waiting for my British Isle tea to brew), I realized that my mind was not only filled with the delights of these culinary treats, but also with some nagging thoughts on how to blend our ever-growing family’s holiday traditions. I quickly recalibrated my brain to focus on the positive the sweets would soon afford me and like Scarlet O’Hara, decided to worry about blended families and holiday traditions another day. (So glad I did, because I enjoyed every tasty morsel and sweet sip.)

A few days later I was reading some positive psychology research focused on the correlation between what folks value individually and what nations value and how we track both, when a thought resurfaced for me – what we measure grows.

You see, that which we deem important enough to measure, i.e. pay attention to, tends to grow. Ta da!

If I fill my holiday with strife and worry and thoughts of who gathers when and where, I am doomed before I begin. BUT if I focus on what really matters to me I may increase the likelihood that those things will appear.

Measure what matters

What do you want to celebrate throughout the holiday season? What are your personal beliefs and values related to the season? In simplest terms, what is most important to you? Family? Love? Togetherness? Food? Fun?

I decided I want to pay more attention to love. I am going to focus on and savor all the acts of love I see – the moments of tenderness and caring, the gestures of kindness and the sacrifices of any size made in honor and support of the holiday. My plan is to be so busy looking for love – that I ignore, or at least won’t stew about, the less than stellar moments we will undoubtedly have as individuals and as a group as we blend people, places, menus, schedules and traditions.

Make your season brighter

  1. Ask yourself – before the holidays are in full force – what really matters to you. What do you want to hold in your heart this holiday season?
  2. Then capture each and every moment you can. Savor them as they occur.
  3. To reinforce your resolve and truly impact your holiday spirit, take a few minutes each night before you go to bed or when you wake up to review those special moments. (It is easy to let your good intentions fade as the demands of the holidays grow – give yourself a helping hand by using at least one of the suggestions in this step.)
    1. Jot down your memorable moments in a journal. (You can start a special holiday journal, pack it way with the holiday decorations and have the fun of re-reading and adding to it each year.)
    2. Write your moments on bits of paper and store them in a jar. (The jar can be saved each year, as well.) Or, simply put a penny in a jar or bowl to capture the moment.
    3. Write them on holiday-colored paper and create a paper chain throughout the holiday with all the moments you have enjoyed and want to remember.
    4. Encourage your kids, spouses and even your guests to add their special holiday moments to your jar or chain and watch them grow along with everyone’s holiday spirit.

Truth is, we are in control of the holidays ahead. I know it seems like things are moving way too fast, and that the gift lists, demands and commitments grow longer and greater each year, but in my case so has the love. And, the more often I remind myself of that, the brighter the season will shine.

Here’s to enjoying the holidays ahead!

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One comment

  1. Hi All, 2015 was one of my best holiday seasons ever! So glad I took the time to focus on what was truly important to me and not spend time worrying about any difficult moments that might arise. We made time for everyone, including ourselves – and I felt my heart expand through loving moments throughout the season. Kindness was the key component – so many folks reaching out to share their best.

    Since we were traveling for almost three weeks, I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be at jotting down the moments or finding ways to collect them as we went, but on our 22-hour journey home, we will spend time reviewing the moments we most want to remember and recording them on a special cards I plan to pack away with the holiday decorations when we are back home. I love this idea, as it will be fun on the road and reading them next year will be a great way to start a new holiday season.

    Hope your holiday season was wonderful, as well. And, that your New Year is off to a great start. Warm regards, Patrice


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