One of the main reasons we started the Little HolyDays Link-up, with it's focus on the Advent Season and it's surrounding holidays, was that Haley, Tammy, Hannah and I are part of growing number of people who desire a little more meaning and simplicity in the special days of the year. There are a lot of tips and hints about how to make the holidays more meaningful and special, but so many of those great ideas seem to have a caveat - being a great cook, a great crafter, an orator and quite possibly a wizard.
Seriously, how great would it be if we could just summon up sumptuous meals, perfectly decorated trees that would make Martha drool with envy, perfect presents and beautiful coiffed and perfectly mannered children?
But sadly the most any of us have gotten from platform 9 3/4 is a serious bump on the noggin, and my fireplace is definitely note a method of transportation.
The following list are my ideas to help you to a better, more fulling holiday season... without needing to be a graduate of Hogwarts.
- Turn Off the T.V. - I'm not saying the cherished Christmas movies are off the table, but turn off the T.V. In fact, start doing this in early November as often as you can. Toss the mailers and newspaper inserts and limit the influence of the marketing world telling you and your kids what sole, magical item will earn their complete happiness on Christmas morning.
- Go to Church - Seriously folks, go to church weekly or maybe an extra day or more during the month of December. Let it fill up your calendar. For those not affiliated with such a group, make your own - no need to start your own religion, but rather gather at a set time and date every week for a month. Keep it simple, but dedicate your time to getting ready, traveling and attending said event each week. And I support this bullet completely as a mother who's child is convinced he needs to personally show the entire church why individual seats (not bolted down) instead of pews were not a good idea.
- Pray a Little More - Dedicate a little time each week, or challenge yourself and go for each day. Pray for the world, pray for your husband, your kids, your family, your neighbors, that stranger online with the sick child or catastrophic illness. Pray, meditate, send out good vibes or good karma - how ever you do it. If you don't know where to start search Google for prayers or meditations on something you feel called towards - for the sick, the grieving, the lost, the alone. Search until you find something, anything, that speaks to you and pray.
- Say No - Doing Step #2 will most likely cut at least one or more day a week out a good part of you social calendar already, but take it a step further. Say no to everything that won't bring you some kind of peace and happiness. Choose one day a week that you'll attend Christmas Parties or extra events or say no all together.
- Limit Your Giving - Set a limit on the amount you will spend on friends and family. Consider setting a present number limit or a dollar amount. Go through your friends and family and figure out who really loves receiving gifts and who would be equally happy getting a card, an invite for coffee or a nice long phone call.
- Limit Your Receiving - Go through your Christmas list and cross out anything that you couldn't feasibly attain for yourself at any time during the year. Leave only things that have meaning - a special gift from a spouse or family member - and bring people together.
- Give More in a New Way - Give more those who really need it. Take some of your Christmas budget freed up by #4 and send it somewhere else - a international charity, a local charity, a retirement home or lonely neighbor.
- Let It Be - Let it be when the cookies burn. Let it be when the tree topples over. Let it be when nothing goes right and tempers get short. Let your holiday be just what it becomes no matter the grand plan. Burnt cookies, toppled trees and all sort of Christmas catastrophes are what the holidays are made of. The worst thing you can do is wish yourself in another persons holiday.
There is no magic spell to be cast, but perhaps it might help someone to find a little more magic in their holidays.
p.s. The Jury is still out on whether or not my husband is hoarding an illegally transported dragon egg. ;)