The hustle and bustle of Christmas has been in full swing for weeks now. And, of course the New Year’s Eve festivities are right around the corner. We’ve got the shopping, the parties, the gift wrapping and for many, the stress of pulling it all together so our families have a memorable Christmas experience.
We’re all trying so hard and put so much attention on finding the perfect gifts for everyone on our list. We spend hours meal planning, Christmas card writing, cooking, baking, battling holiday traffic and long-distance traveling to ultimately and hopefully have those magical moments we all strive for in our perfect holiday fantasy.
But there’s one thing I want to discuss today that I believe can ruin (or at least put a damper on) all the beautiful moments we’re so desperately trying to create. I want to raise your awareness so you can have the MOST joy possible. I want to discuss why your presence is the best present you can give this year, to yourself and others! Being mindful can be a game-changer. Let’s see why it’s so important!
Things that can Derail Our Holiday Happiness
I think there are quite a few things that can mess up the magical moments we’re wanting for ourselves during this season, but let’s start with some more obvious stressors and work our way to more subtle joy stealers. I think we can all agree there are just certain facts that are inherent in this busy season, being aware of them can hopefully help us keep our presence and not get overwhelmed with stress and distraction.
Your Phone is ruining your Christmas
I’ve been told by numerous clients that when their family and friends are gathered together for what should be joyous occasions, the lack of genuine presence is palpable. At a time when we all crave authentic, real connection with our loved ones, there is a major technology elephant in the room that nobody seems to want to discuss.
One client told me when her brother came to visit from out of state over Thanksgiving, he was so distracted being on his iPhone that it was like he wasn’t really even there. Friends that came to visit him mentioned later that they felt no genuine connection and were disappointed and felt ignored.
Another client told me her Dad was so preoccupied during a family gathering with “work” on his phone and computer that the rest of the family just went on about their business. My client had traveled out of state to visit her parents but when someone you care about won’t take the time to offer genuine presence and mindfulness, the result is that people can feel unimportant and maybe even unloved.
The same goes here for TV watching. If your whole family is glued to the TV instead of having meaningful conversation and interaction then I think it should be addressed if you really want to get the most joy out of your holiday.
Crowds & Traffic
I don’t know about you, but holiday crowds and traffic can steal ALL my joy if I let them. I just can’t do it! But I’m a major introvert though..LOL! When people are in a hurry and their self absorbed energy kicks in, it’s hard to keep your holiday spirits up.
I suggest you know your range on this and avoid situations where you know it’s going to be crazy. For me, I WON’T go to the mall this time of year. I WON’T travel certain places around town if I really don’t have to. I set it up so I won’t cross the line of what I can take. If you know you’ll be in crowded scenes, make sure you stay very present. Mindfulness is going to be the key here. Don’t allow unconscious people to steal your magic. If someone cuts in line at Target, just take a deep breath and let it go. It’s not worth getting stressed over!
If you think you must have the perfect EVERYTHING, then I hope you have a personal assistant! LOL! From the perfect Christmas card picture, to the tree and all the decorations, the food, the gifts, the gift wrapping, the matching pajamas for the kids, the holiday party, the night at the Nutcracker and on and on and on! Holy crap, that’s stressful just typing it!
I’ve got one word for you….RELAX! No one cares that you’re perfect. And actually people will like you less if they think you are! LOL! Stop allowing the self imposed pressure to be perfect to steal your joy. Let “good enough” be good enough.
We’re putting too much emphasis on things that ultimately don’t matter. Your family just wants you to be happy and have fun with them. Especially the kids. Kids want parents that are PRESENT. They don’t need the perfect toys, cookies or gadgets. They need someone who looks them in the eyes and listens. Get present and mindful. Start enjoying the little things of the season. That’s where the true happiness is found.
Your Presence is truly the best Present
Being more present in your life unlocks the magic we’re all trying to create and experience. Let’s recap some ways to cultivate more presence over the next few weeks:
- Put down the iPhone – When you’re with your family set some boundaries for phone usage. No phones at the dinner table. When someone comes into the room, set your phone aside as a gesture of courtesy. If you’re a guest in someone’s home, leave your phone in your room and go check it periodically when you’re alone. It’s a sign of love and respect. They notice!
- Turn the TV off – When your family is gathered together, make an effort to limit how much the TV is on for no real reason. It’s terribly distracting and our eyes are naturally drawn to it. You can’t be focused on your friends or family if you’re constantly staring at a screen. Unless it’s designated football or movie night, turn it off. Decide to do better. Your relationships WILL improve!
- Avoid Crowds & Traffic when possible – If you know it’s crazy out there, do your best to shop or travel at off-peak times. Don’t do your grocery shopping at the busiest time of day. Try out the new delivery services the stores are offering. And if you know these situations stress you out and cause you to get testy or argue with your family, just stay home! You won’t die..LOL!
- Let go of the Perfectionism – It may be a little late for this idea this year but it’s definitely a good one to keep in mind. If you’re so wrapped up in your gatherings being perfect, you won’t truly experience the joy and magic you deserve. Give yourself some slack. Everything is already perfect!
- Look people in the eye and be present! – One of the highest acts of love you can give anyone is your undivided attention. It sends the message that they matter and you are there for them. Whether you’re paying attention to your spouse, kids or friends, they will remember your attention far more then the actual physical gift you’ve given them.
A genuine connection with another human being means paying attention to them. Listening to them, asking them questions about their lives. If you want more joy with your family and friends, I suggest you develop more presence.
Thank you so much for reading today! If you enjoyed my post please SHARE with your friends!
MERRY CHRISTMAS, Everyone!
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