5 steps to holiday peace.

Ever felt like you've been run over by reindeer during the holiday season? 

 Nope, don't get run over by that reindeer! 

Nope, don't get run over by that reindeer! 

The downhill descent from the end of summer into fall, sliding quickly from Halloween to Christmas and somehow quickly dumping us off into the New Year- seems to all happen in a flash.  A walk into many stores certainly does nothing to help this phenomenon.  No sooner than fireworks are set off for Independence Day can you find pumpkins on the shelf and Christmas stock waiting close behind!

ENOUGH! Chaos and time lapse do not have to leave you feeling lost. Why not CHOOSE to live with intention {the remainder of} this holiday season? 

 Here are our top 5 tips for forging a new way of LIVING during your holidays: 

1.  Examine YOUR expectations.  

Have you been drinking some of the "perfect holiday" Koolaid? Who or what has helped set your expectations for the holiday season? Are those expectations working WELL for you and your family?  You are encouraged here to question and challenge what has been previously accepted.  

2. Next, measure those expectations up with your CURRENT priorities and available TIME. 

Let's be real; you aren't 20 (25, 30...?) and fancy-free any longer. You are probably crunched for time like the rest of us and wishing for some moments of calm and peace, right?

So if you haven't sat down with some intention, paper and a pen (or smart device and list app) in several years, let's do this NOW.  Who and what take priority in your CURRENT life? In what order can you list these?  This exercise may be a little uncomfortable, stick with us through the discomfort.  {Good stuff is on the other side.}

NOW, revise that priority list again and consider whether your available time as a human being in YOUR current daily life can fulfill your responsibility to those listed priorities.  

Anything seem out of place? Don't worry, most of us tend to have a LONG list of priorities without considering we are also HUMAN.  Stay with us...revise your priority list one.last.time. (Feel free to take out "win the neighborhood decorations contest," and "revamp little Johnny and sweet Sarah's bedrooms before 2017." How about chopping "host the family/church/women's group holiday party for the third year in a row"?!)

3. Now that you can feel the knotted nest of Christmas lights unraveling, let's plan for some "No" in your vocabulary repertoire this season.

 No apologies needed. 

No apologies needed. 

When you insert "no" in more places, it allows you to focus on those priorities you just revised several times (you enjoyed that exercise, right?).   Your life and energy begin to reflect where you TRULY want your time to be spent.  

4.  Remember that peace and contentment you daydream about? 

Steps 1-3 are your vehicle there. Being intentional and content with paring down the expectations, revising priorities and inserting some "No"  guide us to peace in our lives.  The perfect placement of holiday decorations and scramble to see ALL the people and do ALL the things become less appealing. 

When you wake up in the morning you are less concerned with superfluous tasks that keep you on the holiday hamster wheel because YOU CAN BREATHE and see your life clearly.  You have found value in that feeling. You can enjoy the moment with your people minus the rush towards the next activity.   And guess what? No catastrophe took place in rejecting the old expectations. {Heck, you don't even care that the next door neighbor won the decoration contest!}


You aren't missing anyTHING because you have found the value of being intentional about YOUR priorities.  Time is well spent on the moments with those people and blessings in your life.  

5. With intention, document the contentment and peacefulness. 

Whether through writing in a journal, mental "notes to self," prayer, meditation or sharing this new experience with others; acknowledge the difference you are experiencing.  This helps to change old, unhelpful thought patterns that were keeping you on the hamster wheel of unrealistic holiday expectations.