The other day I found myself reminiscing about the holidays as a child and the many years we celebrated the same family traditions. It was a magical time of year that seems to only be appreciated through the eyes of a child. Little did I know then how much I would miss those days.
Looking back I remember my sisters and I searching the house and finding the Christmas gifts Mom tried to hide, shaking them in hopes we would guess what was inside. Mom worked hard to make Christmas special. She was an amazing cook and loved to bake. We would walk into the kitchen and find her almost buried by her beautiful creations. There would be trays of cherries, strawberries, and peanut butter all dipped in chocolate, large kitchen bags filled with caramel corn, and of course a variety of cookies and bars waiting to be piled into Tupperware containers. My sisters and I would frost and decorate the cut out cookies and drop the Hershey kisses in the center of the peanut blossoms. The peanut blossoms were made especially for Santa because they were his favorite. Wink… wink…
I loved our Christmas Eve tradition of going to Church, visiting my Grandma that lived closest, and arriving home to find Santa had already been there. He stopped at our house first you know. Mom would have an array of snacks and appetizers made for us including bacon wrapped chestnuts, shrimp cocktail, cheese, crackers, pickled herring for her and I, pork hocks for Dad and my sisters, and of course a huge tray piled high with her baked goods.
My family opened gifts Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was spent at Grandma and Grandpa’s surrounded by our aunts, uncles, and cousins. Like my Mom, Grandma was also a hard working farm wife and was sure to spoil us with a huge home cooked meal and lots of presents. It was tradition to sit around the family room in a huge circle as each of us opened and proudly showcased our gifts. And after the large meal, dessert, and gift opening Grandpa would take a nap before going back to the barn to milk cows.
Hopefully like me, you too have special childhood Christmas memories. However, as we grow older, move out, meet significant others, or get married, our family traditions and the magic around the holidays change. We are suddenly and sadly introduced to what many call a stressful time of year and in time may even begin dreading the holidays. We may still feel the Christmas Spirit but sometimes it can be over taken by over-committed schedules, maxed out credit cards, and family feuds.
Well, I say it is time to take back Christmas and the whole holiday season! This year I have decided to enjoy the holidays and keep my Christmas Spirit. This is the time of year we pay most attention to thanksgiving, gratitude, peace, and love. So I am committed to focus on these things despite the distractions that may arise. If you want to know how I am doing this, please read on.
One thing I have learned and that I teach is the importance of knowing what we want. Why is this important? When you know what you want, you know where you are going and you have a point of focus. You have purpose, motivation, and the ability to make decisions with more ease.
So, first thing, I have made a decision to enjoy the holidays before they arrive. Next, I have made a list of what I want and I keep it on my bathroom mirror as a constant reminder of what I am focusing on. I also know I need to do my part in experiencing joy this holiday season and will share that with you in a later post. I will give you a hint…it is not all about a glass of wine. There are other ways we can move toward what we want this holiday season without involving Miss Merlot or Mr. Jack Daniels.
What I am sharing with you today are some practical tools you can use to help you experience great things too. Below are 4 things you can do now.
Write down what you want to experience.
Think about what you can do to move toward it.
Keep your focus on what you want.
Let each decision you make move you closer to what you want, not further from it.
Next week I will share with you tips on how to keep your focus with the distractions you may face. For now, I encourage you to take a few minutes to write down what you want this holiday season. What do you want to experience? Is it peace within your family, more balance, less commitments, more time doing what you love? If inspired, share it with your spouse, significant other, family or friend.
Check out my Facebook page and share your thoughts. I would love to hear any tips you have as well.