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SALT LAKE CITY — The holidays are upon us and like many women, my mature response often goes like this: panic, stare, shudder and roll over, desperately clutching a tin of Danish butter cookies.
But no more. This year, women can enjoy the holidays with a few simple and useable tips.
Step 1. Focus on a feeling
This seemingly warm, fuzzy consideration might be overlooked but is actually the underlying driver of a memorable holiday. Answer this question ahead of time: What feeling do I and my family want to experience and remember the most this holiday season?
The particular feeling isn’t as crucial as being intentional about it. Choose a feeling that fits your needs or desires: peaceful, exciting, joyful or spiritually grounding.
What matters most is that you choose what matters to you and your family. Then ask each member to choose one family tradition that is the most meaningful. As you enjoy those traditions, each person will experience that personally satiated, contented feeling.
Step 2: Family buy-in
Too often women feel solely responsible for creating a successful holiday season, but when we involve our families, they feel more joy, create memories and learn life skills.
To do this takes getting the buy-in — meaning holding a semi-official meeting to ensure that with time, energy and enthusiasm, the family will put aside electronics to help hang the holly wreaths.
The holidays are for family, so let them help. Let go of your inner controlling Mrs. Claus, and understand that even she uses elves (I have it on good authority). When everyone pitches in, each can enjoy the experience and you can let go of "The Mom Show." Not only is that a gift here and now for you, but it is also a future gift for your children, because they will use those life skills year after year and prepare them to be stellar adults (and relieve your holiday stress).
3. Keep it simple
Especially during the holidays, conventional wisdom encourages women to consciously review and reduce their expectations, because emotional and physical overload can create “yo-yo” emotions. Too much to do combined with the desire to please too many people can create a lose-lose situation.
So the point here is, to keep it simple. Ask yourself:
- Am I doing this to create family memories or for show?
- Am I making this because I love my family or to check it off the list?
- Am I being present in the moment and enjoying this event or am I thinking ahead to when it will be done, or planning the next thing?
The holidays can be a time of joy and peace and giving. With a bit of simple organization and intentional savoring, we can experience just that.
Excerpted from "Simplify & Savor the Season: Organize and Re-Energize Your Holidays."
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase the $1.99 ebook and receive a PDF planning booklet and four “Simplify & Savor” podcasts, with profits donated to the Utah Food Bank. The book is also available on Amazon.**
Connie Sokol is an author, speaker, TV contributor and mother of seven. Contact her at www.conniesokol.com.