When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.
– Bob Hope
The holiday season is only a few weeks away and you’re probably already brimming with anticipation. This year it is going to be great!
You have been making plans for months and everything is almost ready. You can’t wait to see everyone’s faces when they catch a glimpse of how you’ve decorated the house (inside and out), the new table ornaments you’ve bought, the mouth watering menu you’ve cooked up, and the perfect gifts you’ve gotten for everyone.
You tingle with excitement because you have thought of everything.
When Christmas Day comes it all races by in a rush and before you know it you’re sitting there with a cup of eggnog looking the tree and wondering where the magic went.Advertising
Is this all it’s about? The elaborate decorations, the food, the gifts – what about the magic that is advertised everywhere?
Why do you feel let down when the holiday season is all over?
Perhaps it’s time add something new or different to your plans. Below are five options for creating a new and meaningful holiday experience.
1. Assess Your Traditions
Putting up the tree and decorating the house is always done on December 15. Why? It’s tradition. That is the way it was done when I was growing up. I followed the same pattern for a while, then asked my mom, “Why December 15?” She replied, “That was when we got our mid-month pay. I had some extra money then.”
Do you have things related to the holiday season that are considered a tradition? Do you get snippy or irritated when members of your family question the tradition?
Do you know why the tradition began and why you’re continuing it? Perhaps you’re creating unnecessary stress over a tradition that has long lost it’s meaning or it never really had any value.Advertising
Change it up: As a family, create new traditions that represent your family values and current situation. You might be surprised at what people want when you open up the discussion.
2. Let Memories Stay in The Past
You close your eyes and you are a child again reliving the excitement and magic surrounding Christmas. The bright lights, the expectation of Santa, fantasizing about what you will get and the smells of the holiday goodies coming from the kitchen.
Are you trying to recapture a particular feeling or experience from your childhood?
This rarely works. You are attempting to recreate an emotion and a mood that cannot be reproduced. You are not the same as you were then nor is the situation the same.
Change it up: Create an experience that is meaningful and has value for everyone right now. A new memory that your family and friends will cherish long after the season is gone.
3. Let Go Of Others’ Expectations
You are surrounded by family, friends, society and rampant commercialism and each one of these comes with a different expectation for the holiday season.Advertising
They expect you to have a tree with decorations, buy everyone a perfect gift, have a fabulous meal and be happy and joyous!
Many people love all of this, but there are others who feel trapped by all the expectations. If you love it, great! If you don’t, why do you do it?
Change it up: What would be your ideal Christmas? Perhaps minimal decorations, no gifts, a simple meal and a day spent with loved ones. What would it feel like if you did what made you happy rather than feeling bullied by the expectations of others? Try it out and see!
4. Stop Aiming For Perfection
Around the holiday season, you often here people saying, “I want this Christmas to be perfect!”
When I hear this, I want to ask, “Perfect for whom?” Everyone’s idea of perfect is different.
For me, a perfect Christmas would be snuggled up with my beloved in front of a blazing fireplace sipping mulled wine. For another, it would be being surrounded by the boisterous laughter and gaiety of family. Someone else might consider sitting on a beach to be the perfect antidote to the wintry Christmas season we always see on TV.Advertising
Creating perfection is a difficult task, for it can only be seen from your perspective. If you are trying create a perfect holiday for someone else, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
Change it up: Expand your perception of a perfect day. You might rephrase your wishes to, “I want this holiday to be a reflection my love and joy for my family.”
5. Be Fully Present In The Experience
You have spent weeks in preparation for the big day only to feel tried and disappointed when it’s all over. At the end of the day, have you ever thought, “Next year, I’m not doing this”?
Change it up: On Christmas Day, slow down and fully experience each moment. Clear your mind of thought or judgement allow yourself to be immersed in the richness of your senses.
Breathe deeply and let your senses guide you. Listen to the laughter and giggles of the children or to the soft music in the background. Hear the real joy being expressed by a special gift. Smell the rich scents wafting in from the kitchen or perhaps the pine boughs on the mantle. Let you eyes rest on the colorful lights reflecting off the snow or each beautiful face in the room. As you eat, savor each bite of food and pay attention to the different flavors. Shift down to your heart and feel the love and joy in the moment.
At this level of experience you are receiving your deepest and most long-lasting gifts!
May this holiday season be rich with unique experiences and memories that fill you with joy!
Featured photo credit: Close up of Christmas market stall in Basel, Switzerland via shutterstock.com
Last Updated on March 25, 2020
How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life
When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.
So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life
It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.
2. Drink in Moderation
I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity. Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.
3. Reduce Stress in Your Life
Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
4. Watch Less Television
A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t. It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.
Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.
5. Eat Less Red Meat
Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.
If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.
6. Don’t Smoke
This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.
Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity. Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.
8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
9. Be Optimistic
Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists. Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.
10. Own a Pet
Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease. Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.
11. Drink Coffee
Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life. Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.
12. Eat Less
Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.
Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure. Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.
Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.
How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners
14. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease. It may also increase the risk of cancer. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.
15. Laugh Often
Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.
16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun
Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.
17. Cook Your Own Food
When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.
Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.
18. Eat Mushrooms
Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.
Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.
20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.
Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health
21. Have Sex
Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease. It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!
More Health Tips
- Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthy and High-Achieving You
- Make These 17 Health Goals Into Daily Habits for Better Overall Wellness
- How to Work Towards a Healthy Life Balance
Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com