Sometimes when we have upcoming holidays, it feels as though life is at warped speed. Everything takes off and there is little time to catch our breath. We are so focused on what food we are taking, what clothes we are going to wear, etc., we lean too far into what we feel makes holidays perfect. 

Dr. Thia has this on a plaque in her dining room: 

Dr, Thia says, “In fact, I can promise you if you expect the holidays to be perfect, you can make yourself miserable before the first turkey drumstick is served.” In the rest of this article, Dr. Thia, MPower Co’s Dreictor of Education, talks with you about how to lean into the joy and fun of upcoming holidays, without the overwhelm of keeping up or attempting at making them perfect.

7 Tips for Enjoying Upcoming Holidays 

Maybe we need to think more about the holidays like Holocaust survivor Victor Frankl did when he titled his final book, “Yes to life – in spite of everything.”   We need to be about looking for meaning the next several weeks, in spite of everything.

 1. My first tip is to keep it simple. 

You already had a full schedule before the holidays came along.  What makes you think you can add extra cooking, decorating, gift shopping, travel and family get-togethers effortlessly into a schedule that is fully packed already? 

Take time to simplify, redirect your energy, and eliminate things that distract from what matters to you most before the upcoming holidays are in full swing.

 2. Inspect your gift-giving list.  

A few years ago, I pared back our gift giving list dramatically and it has taken a lot of pressure off.  I had a conversation with those we traditionally exchanged gifts with and we agreed to do exchange experiences rather than gifts.  We might meet at the zoo for a morning, host one another for coffee, or take a Dutch-treat day trip, and we purposely schedule these in months other than November and December.  The relief on their faces (and mine) when we gave each other the gift of time and focused attention was dramatic.  It was a holiday game-changer for them and me.

3. Money is personal.  

What do the newspaper delivery people, teachers, the mail delivery people, housekeepers and hair cutting people need most?  Money (or gift cards if you prefer or they can’t accept cash – for example mail delivery people).  Is it impersonal?  I would suggest that money is very personal to nearly all of us.  Don’t give items that will end up in their yard sale or in the trash.

4. Give experiences rather than material things. 

If you have people in your family that buy themselves what they need and some of their wants, perhaps buying them more things for the upcoming holidays isn’t going to add to their happiness. You know what might do more good? Gifting them an experience. 

It is easy to go online and purchase tickets to events and attractions.  Choosing to take a grandkid to the zoo for an afternoon, for example, is telling them not only would you love to enjoy the zoo with them, but also that they will have your 1:1 attention for a period of time. 

There are three good things about giving experiences – time looking forward to the event, the actual event and, finally, remembering the event. In addition, experiences don’t add to the clutter in our homes.  Most people have way too much stuff in their living space.  Building relationships with your time is so much better than one more stuffed toy or unread book.

5. Take joy in what you have.  

I’m certainly supportive of going around the table at the Thanksgiving meal and each person telling what they are thankful for.  I lament, however, that too many only do this once a year.  Positive psychology teaches us how to live more days looking for our blessings and people to be grateful for.  We can either look for hurts, imperfections and miseries in our life (and we can easily find them) or we can be looking for what is right, who we appreciate and what contributes to our well-being.  What we are looking to find makes a huge difference in how wonderful (or miserable) our holidays are.

6. Focus on a few things that have meaning

What does your spirituality or faith tell you is at the heart of the coming weeks?  Are you focusing on that at least as much as the razzle dazzle of the upcoming holidays?

Not sure what is most meaningful to your closest family members about the holidays?  Ask them.  Focus on those.

7. Spread hope. 

As we look at finishing 2021 and ahead to a new year, be a spreader.  No, I’m not talking about being a Covid spreader, but instead of one that spreads hope. Talk about what is right in the world, what you are thankful for and then spread hope about a bright future. The more positive you are, the more it will bring about positivity in others around you. 

Free Resource – Becoming a Millionaire Next Door 

If you found this article on enjoying upcoming holidays more, MPower co also has a free resource that you’ll love!  It’s all about how to become a millionaire next door. Becoming a Millionaire Next Door takes focus and time and being focused in how you spend money, like we do at the holidays!  Click on this link to get your free download to be more financially savvy.