Whether you like it or not, the holiday season is upon us! I personally love this time of year, but there’s always a lot of hustle and bustle. And if you’re like me, I find myself searching for ways to be present during the holidays.
Call me crazy or call me festive—I’m a proud fanatic of the holidays. (Anndddd that’s why my holiday decorations go up November 1st every year.) Regardless of whether you’re a holiday fanatic or not, this time of year often comes with high expectations, which can lead to unnecessary stress. And TBH, there’s a lot going on! In between searching for the perfect gifts and finding cute holiday dresses for every get-together, it’s easy to get swept up in the holiday hustle.
I’m here to help you reset and set your intentions by establishing how you want to make the most out of your holiday season. Doing so now will help you prioritize the little time you have.
To give you some inspiration, I’m outlining four easy ways to be present during the holidays. Whether you implement some of my ideas or not, I hope you’ll encourage you to take a moment and think about what’s important to you.
top image: @colleenkubiakmedia
1. Try New Recipes & Share Old Favorites
Food is one of my favorite ways to bring people together over the holidays. Finding new holiday recipes to try out can be a fun way to cook up new ideas for your potlucks and parties. Pinterest anyone? At the same time, sharing some of your favorite recipes with friends and family and making meals or baking treats together is a wonderful excuse to get people together.
2. Be Prepped With Conversation Starters
During the holidays, you’re sure to be around friends and family you haven’t seen in a while. It’s time to dust off the ice breakers! You’ll be spending a lot of time in long conversations, catching up with loved ones and even meeting plus ones and guests you’ve never met before. Once you’re past the normal small talk, be prepared with some great conversation starters to fill in any awkward silences. Here are some of my favorites
- What are some of your favorite holiday traditions that you did while growing up?
- Where are the five places you really want to visit on your bucket list?
- What’s the weirdest food you’ve eaten?
- What’s your favorite thing about the area/city/state you live in?
- If you had to stay one age forever, what age would it be?
3. Give Back to the Community
One of my favorite ways to be present during the holidays is to give back to your community. There are a ton of ways to spread the spirit of giving no matter your budget or free time allowance.
You could even ask your friends and family to volunteer with you or donate to a cause in lieu of gifts. Last year, I gifted a good friend a donation to Wikipedia instead of a physical gift because he is a Wikipedia fantastic. He LOVED the gift and appreciated the thoughtful donation to a cause he cared about over material goods. Here are some more ideas for ways to pay it forward this holiday season:
- Contribute to a clothing or toy drive or start your own
- Visit a nursing home
- Opt in to showing up monthly to your favorite charity or organization
- Write letters to deployed military members
- Make cookies for people working over the holidays
4. Take Care of Your Mind & Body
With long to-do lists and high stress over the holidays, it’s extra important to fit some self-care into your routine. You spend a lot of time thinking about gifts for others while also scheduling your visits to fit in time with friends and family, leaving little time to breathe. Set aside dedicated time away from your holiday stressors to boost your emotional wellness! How you spend this time is completely dependent on what is important to you, but here are some ways to be present and treat yo’self:
- Fit in a work out over your lunch hour instead of eating at your desk
- Take a long bubble bath
- Practice regular meditation (I highly recommend Headspace as a meditation app—it’s free to download)
- Turn off your phone and email and enjoy a movie or book without disruption