The holidays are a time to be with the people you love, spread joy and cheer, and feel a sense of peace. Unfortunately, creating a meaningful holiday season doesn’t always happen in the middle of the hustle and bustle. And what about after the holidays are over?
That said, holiday stress is nothing new. Frantic mobs in the malls, juggling obligations with opportunities and even nostalgic traditions can get overwhelming. In 2020, it was even worse for many people who could’t even pay basic bills or get together with family or friends.
This year, and every year, it’s essential to make the most of the holiday season. That includes finding as many ways as possible to make it meaningful. When you’re able to do that, you can enjoy the season much more and get through it with a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
So, what can you do to create a more meaningful holiday season?
1. Using Gratitude
This time of year is the season of giving, but how often do you actually show gratitude? That means so much more than just saying “thank you” for any of the gifts you might receive. Instead, use gratitude daily and take a few moments to really reflect on the things you do have in your life.
This past couple of years has been incredibly challenging for everyone. You may have had to deal with job loss, illness, the death of a loved one, grief, or loneliness. Sometimes, it can be hard to find things in your life to be grateful for — but they are there. Most of the time, we speed though life pursuing what we don’t have rather than acknowledging what we do.
The sooner you can start to recognize them, no matter how small they might seem now, the more appreciative you’ll become. That can make not only the holidays more meaningful but every day of the year. (and the bonus is, with regular practice, it can benefit your stress level and health, too)
2. Acts of Kindness
Instead of receiving this season, consider what you can give. Again, that goes beyond handing someone a present (although there is nothing wrong with that!). A meaningful holiday season can be found in simple acts of kindness.
From raking your neighbor’s yard to buying a cup of coffee for the person behind you at a cafe drive-through, little acts of kindness can go a long way.
Because this year has been so hard for so many, it can be the little things that make the biggest difference. You never know what someone might be going through and how much your moment of kindness can change their perspective and cause them to “pay it forward” to someone else. If there was ever a time to start a kindness change, it’s right here and now.
3. Service to Others
Being kind doesn’t mean merely buying someone something. Your small acts of kindness could (and should) trigger a desire to serve others all season long.
So very many people are in need throughout the holiday season. And even more so if the months that follow. This year rings true more than ever, mainly because people have lost their jobs or are dealing with loneliness or sickness.
You can make a real difference in someone else’s life through acts of service. Volunteer your time as often as possible. Work in a soup kitchen or a local food pantry. Volunteer at an animal shelter, or deliver groceries or medication to the elderly who can’t leave their homes. Ask a local church, temple, school or community center how you can help them.
Not only will acts of service make you feel good this holiday season, but it can genuinely open up your eyes to how many people need assistance. It can inspire you to do more throughout the year, not only around the holidays.
If you want to create a meaningful holiday season, these are just a few ways to get started. However, the best thing you can do is look into your heart and consider how you can take care of others. Now, more than ever, the holidays should be less about the chaos that typically surrounds them. Instead, take a step back to appreciate what you have, and think about helping others.
For more help creating a meaningful holiday season amid a grief-filled year, please contact me today or visit my page on Counseling for Loss to learn more about how I can help.