How to fit JOY into your Cluttered Holiday Calendar

Here we are at the start of the holiday season.  A season of gathering, celebrating, memory-making.  The time of year when life can become so full that taking a moment to breathe almost feels unreasonable.

Are you already there? 

We have just entered the season & yet looking ahead can feel overwhelming! 

The calendar starts to bulge with events & traditions.  And in the beginning, when the invites & events start coming, it can feel really exciting to think of all the ways you are going to “celebrate the season,” until… you step back and realize that your full calendar has left you no room for the parts of the holiday season that used to bring you joy.  The simple joy that came from simple things.

Instead, the little things that kept your spirit up & made you feel “in the moment,” have been pushed aside as everything jostled for a place on the calendar. 

I have been there (and still find myself reverting to that space easily if I’m not careful).  It’s a place that feels like resignation and can quickly become a resentful place.

Your Turn…

So what can you do when you find yourself looking at a cluttered holiday calendar & feel the joy of the season slipping away?

1.  Take a moment to think of the things that you used to truly enjoy about the season.  For me, they are the little things, the creative things, the things that don’t involve hoopla and big celebration- sledding as a family, hot chocolate & cozying up to read Christmas books, cutting out snowflakes.  If I don’t intentionally make space for these things, they could easily be left out & leave me feeling like a piece of my holiday joy was missing. 

2.  Look for openings in the weeks ahead when you could sneak in one of those little “joyful moments.”  Or trade out something you aren’t looking forward to & use the time for the activity that you have been missing.

3. Check in with your energy level.  When last minute celebrations & opportunities come up, check in with your energy level before saying yes.  This season involves a huge amount of energy output, as we gather with friends & family, shop, and attend performances, so watch for signs that you need a break before you “break.” 

4.  Take time to recharge.  Maybe instead of gearing up for another holiday event, you need a quiet night in.  Turn on a holiday movie & make a bowl of popcorn.  Taking a break will increase the chances that you’ll enjoy the next thing on the calendar.

5.  Experiment with saying no or decreasing some of those “extra” expectations/obligations that have crept on the calendar.  Take a store-bought treat instead of spending time on holiday baking.  Take a year off from one of your holiday traditions & see how it affects your mood.  Decrease the amount of time you spend running as you check off those shopping lists by giving certificates or doing your shopping locally or online. 

IMG_8568Next Steps…

It isn’t easy to pull back and say no to activities & events that seem so fun & so necessary during the holiday season, BUT it will feel worth it when you still have energy at the end of December.  And it’s good for our soul to make time for the things that fill us up. 

Take a moment to list 3 things that you truly enjoy during the holiday season and then check the calendar to see if they are on it.  If not, clear some space & make them happen!

Tell me what you came up with!  What has been missing or been left out?  And what might you give up to make that thing happen?