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How can we be intentional this Christmas season? How can we maintain our sanity amidst the “busyness” of consumerism or the ridiculousness of some family conversations? Before answering these questions, take a few minutes to think about what they actually mean.

  • What does being intentional look like? Ask yourself what that means for you. Make it personal. Maybe it means saying yes/no to party invites based on how whether you WANT to go instead of whether you feel it’s expected that you attend. Maybe being intentional means skipping the lavish gifts and handing your closest friends and family members a hand-crafted ornament or thoughtful letter.
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  • What do we mean by “busyness?” The majority of people claim to be busy. Oh, they haven’t had time to call, because they have been so busy. Well, I can relate to, appreciate, and respect a filled schedule. But what about being busy because people just don’t know how to slow down and breathe? That’s different. Many people think they’re busy when they’re simply spending ungodly amounts of time on their personal technology devices, scrolling through social media, or talking about how busy they are.  Be mindful of how you spend your time between activities and deadlines on your calendar! Be aware of how much time you spend checking your phone. Is that Facebook or Twitter time really so important that you would rather spend your precious minutes of life scrolling than phoning or texting a close friend?
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  • Consumerism? Enough said.
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  • Ridiculous family conversations? Do you have relatives who think they know everything about you because they read a short blurb on social media? LoL. Do you have family members who talk non-stop and don’t let you have an opportunity to share something? What about those people who ask you a question and then proceed to answer the question for you? That’s what I thought. We all have at least one of these special people in our families. And chances are that we’ll encounter them over the Christmas season.

Now that we’re on the same page, let’s consider these 5 Tips to help us stay intentional this Christmas season:

  1. Just say no. Say no to all those extra gatherings and events that will wear you down energetically or emotionally. If you already have family time scheduled with these people, why do you need to have coffee dates, cookie exchanges, dinners, and other time-fillers? Be mindful of your acceptance of the excess gatherings.
  2. Honor your personal time. REST! It’s okay and (even encouraged) to have white space on your calendar. Self-care is a must to help offset the undue stress of the potentially chaotic/hectic holiday season. Do what makes sense for your health, time, and emotional well-being:
    • Bundle up and go for a nature walk.
    • Draw a picture.
    • Read a book.
    • Write in a journal.
    • Have a bath.
    • How about a nap?
  3. Renew your “why.” Take some time to re-evaluate and consider why certain things are traditions this time of year. Why do we do the same things year after year? Maybe we don’t need to… maybe it’s time to start a new tradition. If there is no obvious or soul-filling reason WHY you spend energy, time, and/or money, then re-evaluate and do something else! Renew yourself and renew your why. Be able to finish this sentence: “We ____________ every Christmas, because___________. And doing this makes me feel _______________.”
  4. Communicate clearly. Leave no room for assumptions! Be direct. Be clear. Do not hesitate. It’s acceptable to request time to think about something and then respond, but leave no room for misunderstandings or faulty interpretations. Be firm with your desires and assertive with your communication. Oh, and please do not feel the need to explain yourself. For example, if you do not want to attend Great Aunt Somebody’s family gathering, tell the people who need to know that you will not be there… but you do not need to explain yourself! This is your choice and others should respect how you choose to spend your time.
  5. Protect your happiness.
    • Walk away when necessary.
    • Do not compare yourself to anyone or anyone’s thoughts.
    • Give from your heart and reap the reward. Allow yourself to feel good about giving thoughtful, meaningful gifts.
    • Simplify. Eliminate the excess gatherings, conversations, people, tasks, etc.

Practicing intentional living during non-holiday times can be a true life-saver this time of year. However, if you have gotten caught up in the “busyness” of your world and have been going through the motions on your hamster wheel of life, I now invite you to take a giant leap towards happiness by making an effort to be intentional this Christmas season.

See the photo at the top of this article? That is to remind you to pause and reflect occasionally throughout the next couple weeks. Pause. Breathe. Reflect. Smile. Gift yourself the simple joys and pleasures of intentional living and enjoy Christmas and other holidays on a deeper, more personal level.

Let me know how it goes! More importantly, let me know how you feel about it!