I love the holiday season. It’s one of the most memorable times of the year and a reminder for all of us to focus life on important things.
But it can often become a season of hurry, rush, and stress. We add commitments and events and consumerism to our already-crowded lives during the holidays. In our desire to make the most of it, we begin to lose sight of the true joy of the season.
Unfortunately, busy and “rushed” rarely leads to a merry holiday. If you want to enjoy more of your holiday season this year, identify what to remove.
Start with These Ten:
1. Excessive Gift-Giving.
Giving gifts is just fine, but excessive gift giving benefits no one. It adds debt, obligation, and financial burden to the life of the gift-giver and clutter to the home of the gift-receiver. Over half of us will receive an unwanted gift this holiday season. Make sure you’re not the one giving it.
Half of shoppers will overspend their holiday budget. To enjoy your season, stay within the financial limitations you have set yourself. Here are some helpful ideas to accomplish that. You can’t spend your way into a merrier season anyway.
3. Traditions that Don’t Serve You.
Holidays are holidays and traditions are traditions. But traditions are not the holiday. Maybe Rachel Jonat said it best, “We don’t have to continue holiday traditions that leave us broke, overwhelmed, and tired.” If a specific holiday tradition is not adding value to your season, end it.
4. Unnecessary Commitments.
The holiday season is known for its heightened sense of obligation. Work parties, neighborhood parties, club parties, holiday festivities… and the list goes on and on. Quick reminder: You are in charge of your holiday calendar and you do not need to appear everywhere you are invited. Lighten your schedule. If a commitment is unnecessary and not helping you make the most of your holiday season, cancel it.
5. Shopping “Sales.”
Retail stores are full of tricks to get you separated from your money. Sales racks are one of their methods. Most often, shopping the “sales” (whether they be in-store, online, or printed on mailers) results in buying things we never intended to purchase. Keep in mind, if you didn’t know you needed it until you saw it on sale, you don’t need it! Rather than shopping the sales rack, keep to your list instead.
Eating delicious food with family and friends is an enjoyable part of our holiday season. So, please enjoy. But do it responsibly. Emergency room visits increases 25 percent to 50 percent after the holidays because of overeating, over-drinking, and people not following their diets. Here’s your recipe for a more enjoyable holiday season: Enjoy yourself, but don’t overdo it. Your January you will thank you as well.
7. Trying to Create the “Perfect Holiday.”
’Tis the season for unreasonable expectations. We often get so frustrated and weary chasing the perfect holiday that we never take time to enjoy the one right in front of us. But once we slow down enough to notice our blessings, we begin to see that we already have everything we need for a perfect holiday season.
8. Holding Long-Held Grudges.
The holiday season is to be a celebration of peace, goodwill, and reconciliation. Yet, for many families, thoughts of peace rarely accompany the holidays. Instead, the exact opposite is all too common. Years of bitterness, resentment, and depression have been piled on top of misconceptions, misunderstandings, and misbehavior. This year, give the gift of overdue peace.
Envy and jealousy foster discontent and distress. They bind our freedom, lead to resentment, cause us to do things we wouldn’t normally do, and can spiral into depression. But during the holiday season, people are prone to them. We compare our decorated homes, our holiday meals, the money we have to spend, and the amount of wrapped boxes under a plastic tree. Comparing yourself to others is no way to enjoy your holiday season. Appreciating what you have and not expecting more is the best way to enjoy your holiday. Actually, it’s the only way.
10. Your Home’s Clutter.
Excess possessions add burden onto our lives. They make entertaining more difficult and increase the weight of ordinary chores. Because the holiday season often means more possessions entering our home, our existing clutter adds to the frustration. And nobody likes piling clutter on top of clutter. Remove the unneeded possessions from your home. You’ll love a more relaxed, clutterfree holiday season.
The old adage is true: Less is more. Removing the items above from your holiday season will not cause you to sacrifice joy this holiday season—it will bring more of it.