Want The Happiest Of Holidays? Here Are 3 Ways You Can Do It!


The greeting is "happy holidays" for a reason, people.

In today’s American society we are inundated with holiday marketing as soon as Halloween is over. With that comes the pressure to be joyful and have the perfect holiday season:

…600 ways to cook a turkey…DIY Christmas decorations…Lists and lists of presents to purchase.

Not to mention…Perfect Christmas card pictures…Finding a date for Holiday and New Year’s parties.

What if you took a break from that and decided instead to just enjoy your life this season? By keeping connected to your values and redefining your experience for yourself, you can have a joyous holiday season. The key is you! You, and only you, hold the power to enjoying your life. Flourishing during this season really is just a matter of choosing to engage in your life and relationships in a new way.

Here are three tips to flourish and connect during the holidays:

1. Manage Expectations

Everyone has his or her own agenda during the holidays. Pushing to make everything perfect only increases stress and disengagement from your loved ones. When you look back on your holiday, would you prefer to say that everything was picture perfect or would you want to say that you had a great time and felt the love of those around you? I hate to break it to you… you can’t have both. Stop comparing yourself to others, stop increasing the lists and lists of tasks to accomplish, just stop and think—what can I absolutely NOT live without? Then focus on those things.

Managing expectations includes not only the holiday chaos, but the relationships within your life as well. If you frequently see arguments between certain family members, make a plan for managing it. A sample statement could be, “I understand that you feel upset right now. You are in my home and everyone else’s holiday is being impacted by your argument. Please set it aside and join us in the dining room. We would like to begin dinner.” Then walk away and join your guests. By maintaining boundaries and planning ahead, you can keep the rest of the experience enjoyable.

2. Stay in the Moment

The most tempting thing when hosting a party or preparing for a holiday is to just go, go, go. I suggest you just stop, stop, stop, and look around you. By taking time to check in with your partner, your children, your friends, you’ll be able to appreciate the joy of having everyone near. My husband and I love to throw parties. But we had to learn how to be in-sync when hosting. It was that or hit him over the head with the turkey. I chose the former. Now, we actually enjoy each other and our guests and appreciate each other’s contributions. By staying in the now and just enjoying each other and our family we are able to come out of a party with a real sense of holiday joy.

If you find yourself running at a break-neck pace…Stop. Breathe. Savor. Enjoying the small moments in life is important because that is what life is - Small moments that are strung together to make a whole, happy life.

3. Embrace the Unexpected

People get sick, the power goes out, turkeys don’t cook on time. These things happen. Stressing about them won’t help anyone. In November of last year, I christened my baby boy. There were tornado sightings nearby, some of the guests weren’t able to make it and it was pouring rain. Later, we lost power for a few hours with all our guests still at the house. It all worked out fine and my gorgeous little boy was blessed by God. Even in the moment, we were mostly able to just roll with it and have fun. And what a story we have to tell!

Sometimes things just don’t go right. It’s the way life is. Learning to roll with it and enjoy those you love is what it’s all about. Pull out some flashlights and feed the masses with the cold leftovers from the fridge. They won’t mind, they’re here for you. And if they do mind, good note for next year! Perhaps they shouldn’t receive an invitation.

Surviving the holidays isn’t about putting your head down and barreling through. Surviving the holidays means appreciating those who provide value and love to your life and the blessings you have. If you focus on the blessings, you’ll enjoy it…no matter what.

This article was originally published at Family SOS, Inc. Reprinted with permission from the author.