The three wise men brought Acceptance, Presence and Love.

The lead up to the holiday season is an exciting time full of lots of cheer and sparkle and yet it can also often be quite chaotic and overwhelming. We can find ourselves in a robotic state following the idealised commercial standards to create the perfect family celebration. Not only do we need to convince the people in the room we are having a grand time we also need to be able to show it on social media! The expensive gifts for family and friends that they wanted, decorations to dazzle even Grinch, a feast that would impress kings and the greatest entertainment for the list of guests meeting all their different preferences. Although the holiday season can bring a great deal of joy it

can also bring with it unwanted stress. Let’s consider how to manage the holiday season so everyone is left wearing a silly hat and a smile!

Plan ahead – It is wise to begin planning early, whether you have the mammoth task of hosting over the holiday period or if it’s just gifts that you need to buy, planning ahead can take out some of the stress and make the task more enjoyable. Be honest with yourself about what it is possible for you to
do and what would be too much. In your plan include restorative activities for you and your loved ones too. Planning afternoons of relaxation where you can read, talk, take walks or have a much-needed lie in are just as important as the shopping and cooking. These activities keep us centred and grounded which can be very important during the festive period. Often we work ourselves too hard and then are unable to enjoy the festivities and are left feeling cranky.
Please don’t try to be perfect – Fortunately you don’t have to create winter wonderland at home and you also don’t have to manage everything on your own. Consider where you might be able to use shortcuts and what is surplus to requirement. Once you have done that then ask for help. Holiday seasons are about togetherness and often a great way to make guests feel more at home is
by including them in some of the preparations. Let them share in the creation of a wonderful festive period and then credit them with applaud.
Rein in the costs – Holidays and celebrations should not just be about presents. If you’re feeling the pinch discuss this openly with your family. The festive season is to demonstrate love and regard for one another and the pressure to go to extreme lengths to buy gifts should not be there. Maybe arrange a secret santa instead, also encourage making gifts for one another. There are lots of ways you could still have festive fun without needing to re-mortgage your homes. Give give give - A great tradition is to make giving a part of the holiday season allowing one to focus on others instead of our own wants. Consider those who are less fortunate and how it might be possible for you to support them. Is there an aged neighbour who is lonely? Do you know of children
in other countries that would benefit from the money spent on over-gifting? Is there somewhere you could donate your time to support people locally? This is also a great lesson for young children to learn too encouraging the real spirit of the holiday season to come through. Awkward interactions – we spend more time with people who might not normally see in such proximity or for prolonged long periods of time. If Parents are overbearing and siblings are passive-
aggressive then you are not alone. In your mind’s eye look at them, consider them with all their qualities and flaws and then choose them to be your family and accept them just as they are. You might find they come across differently when you do that. If you do find yourself in a pickle, then laughter is often the best medicine and great at diffusing tense situations. If you find yourself in a
bigger pickle then some well versed stock phrases might come in handy, “lets discuss that another time”.

What do we really need over the holiday season? Acceptance of one another as we are; being present to the company that we do have (not some ideal we are led to desire); and to love and be loved in whatever form that may appear.

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