What do you want to experience this holiday season? 

It’s easy to feel like you have to do what you’ve always done and dutifully show up for family and friends. But I want you to stop and really ask yourself: Do I genuinely enjoy all of these things? If I didn’t feel like I “had” to…would I still be doing them? How do I really want to feel during the holidays?

If the weight of holiday obligation already feels like it’s closing in and you want to do (and feel!) something different this year but you have no idea how…then please consider this episode an early gift from me to you! 

I’m giving you some ideas on how to create a proactive holiday plan so you can avoid over-functioning and overdoing plus helping you raise your awareness around where you might be auto-accommodating so you can STOP and actually enjoy the holiday season!

We all have families, and so much of the time, we can start just going through the motions of what we’ve done year after year because most of us have the experience of the holidays being a particular way within our family of origin. To do something different and disrupt “tradition” can feel impossible. 

But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, resentful or flat out exhausted every year, it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate what’s working for you and what’s not when it comes to the holiday hustle. 

It is so important for you to really give yourself permission to not do all of the things you’ve done in the past…especially if it feels like checking off required boxes. You might be throwing away the precious gift of present moment consciousness throughout the holiday season…and when you’re not being mindfully present, it’s so much easier to fall into the pitfalls of overgiving, over-functioning and yes, auto-accommodating. 

I did an episode a little while back about auto-accommodating and the response from you was incredible. SO many of you resonated with this concept of constantly scanning every room and situation to see where you can lessen someone’s burden or help in some way (and getting totally burned out in the process), that I wanted to address it within the context of the holidays specifically, because this time of year we’re usually spending more in-person time with our families, friends and even strangers than we usually do. Which can be more time to over-give, over-function and UNDER enjoy! 

Without further ado, here are my top tips to help you consciously create space to re-imagine and re-invent your holiday this year:

  • Take an honest inventory of ALL of the events and tasks that you usually do every year. Whether it’s driving to 3 different parties on Christmas Day, baking hundreds of cookies for that swap with the PTA or being in charge of the gift exchange at work, I want you to list out every single thing and obligation you have during the holidays. 
  • Review and Revise. Now that you have your list, I want you to go back through it and mark the things you don’t want to do anymore. Tune into your body as you go through each item…does it contract or expand? Ask yourself: am I doing this thing because I want to or because I feel like I have to? Give yourself permission to tune in to how you really feel. Take a second pass and this time, consider your most important loved ones, or as I like to call them, your VIPs. There might be some things that you’re not super into, but because they’re very important to your partner, your children or your parents, they might make the cut. Be discerning and real with yourself. You can do this! 
  • Get Prepared. Shopping on the night before a big holiday has to be one of the most stressful things on the planet! Have a list with all the people you need to buy for, what you plan on buying them, and a gift-giving budget. Put your shopping trips in your calendar during the least busy times possible to avoid the rush and make sure to take your list to the store with you and stick to it! If you are cooking, plan to fix dishes that can be made ahead of time and even frozen so the day of the party you just reheat, be in the moment and enjoy.
  • Simplify. If you’re in the habit of giving gifts for zillions of people, consider streamlining. Have a conversation with your family and friends about other creative ways to share your love and the spirit of giving with one another. You might be surprised that they thank you for it! I have a huge extended family, and over the years we’ve paired it down to each person picking a name and getting just one special gift for that loved one. We’ve also got the kids involved in donating things to needy families that wouldn’t have a holiday otherwise. Again, it’s ok to give yourself permission to let your traditions evolve, grow and change as your life does. 

Are you always the one bringing 5 different dishes to every party you go to? It’s ok to just bring ONE. Have the conversation and of course let people know ahead of time, but see how much you can stay on your own team throughout this holiday season, learn how to say no with ease and grace and not make things more difficult for yourself! 

  • Envision your perfect holiday. Grab your journal, make a cup of tea and take some time to imagine what your perfect holiday would look like for you. I want you to imagine that all the things you always do every year weren’t already in place. How would you spend your time this season if you were completely free to do anything? How would you feel? How busy would you be? How not busy would you be? 

Really allow yourself to get a vision in your mind and write it out. The reason I want you to try this exercise is because when we are really steeped in habitual behaviors and auto-accommodating to make everyone else feel good around us, we’re not expanding our vision of what could be. This doesn’t mean you have to change everything you do, but it does mean maybe adding in or making space for something new that would create more of exactly how you want to feel this holiday. There’s something so liberating about deliberately creating opportunities for things to be and feel the way you want them to. 

  • Give yourself the gift of self-care. With the holiday rush and stress that’s usually par for the course, it can be easy to let your self-care and your healthy habits fall to the wayside. This year, consider practicing impeccable self-care as the gift you’re giving yourself. Try to be mindful of your drinking and eating, move your beautiful bod, get plenty of rest and stay hydrated, because 100% of how you’re treating your body 100% affects your mental and emotional wellbeing.
  • Become a silver-lining detective and up your gratitude game. This is the perfect time to get your gratitude in line and my suggestion is to make it a new healthy habit that takes you through the holidays and beyond. Really focus on everything that is right in your life right now. Remember that nothing will ever be perfect. Life is messy as hell, but being able to be grateful for big and small gifts that you have in your life right now, makes everything easier. Taking time to reflect on what you’re grateful for actually releases dopamine in your brain and reduces your stress response. So really get a gratitude practice going. It’s as simple as writing down 5 things you are grateful for each day, it takes less than 10 minutes, and it makes you feel good, so flex that gratitude muscle! 

For all of you taking this moment to read this, I really want you to get curious about how you’ve been spending your holidays so you can stop auto-accommodating and start to truly enjoy a holiday season of your making this year! Here’s where you can download the little holiday guide that I created just for you! 

I hope that you enjoyed this. I hope it added value to your life. If it did, please share it on all your social media platforms. Thank you so much and I can’t wait to hear what is not making it on your to-do list this holiday season, so be sure to drop me a comment and let me know! I hope you have an amazing, beautiful week and as always, take care of you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I am an HSP (highly sensitive person) and therefore not much of a party goer anyway. That’s just been a way of life for me. This year I started dreading getting out the Christmas decorations so I thought about it and decided to go through all of them, keep the ones that have sentimental meaning for me (so I can look at them whenever I want to) and the rest I packed up and took to the local Habitat for Humanity thrift shop in town. How liberating and good that felt! I hung a little holly wreath on the front door and when my significant other came home that evening I pointed to it and said : “We are done decorating for the holidays!” Thank you Terri for your good counsel and wisdom and sense of humor.

    1. I did that last year, felt wonderful. I put a major scene I my living room with fake snow and a little decorating in my dining room. My husb puts that instant xmas light outside and it is simple and he love it. Yea for simplicity. I packed up a tree and all decorations and took to my son!

  2. I will revise all holiday traditions this year. My 40 yr old children have encompassed a new social circle. They don’t enjoy the old folks. Plan to have small gatherings with friends and out of town excursions even if I have to go solo.

  3. Hi Terri, thank you so much for your tips! I love reading and trying new ideas to help myself grow. I really like the way you explain things, so down to earth, I Get it!!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}