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Steps to a Peaceful Holiday Season

Just days before Christmas, I thought you might enjoy some ideas to make for a smooth season next year.

Step One: Continually remember the reason for the season. No matter what holiday you may be celebrating, there’s a universal message of compassion, warmth, gratitude and love woven throughout them all. Hang onto those themes when that angry woman cuts into line in front of you at the grocery store. Your peaceful smile, despite the circumstances, is a gift, an act of kindness reflective of your holiday’s message. Focusing on positive thoughts, gratitude and acts of kindness are shown to have a beneficial effect on well-being, so the hard task of Step One is ultimately a gift to your, as much as it is to others.

Step Two: When possible, don’t just plan ahead; act ahead. This advice is probably hitting your ears to late in the season, but decorating is A LOT of work so next year, make it worth your while and decorate in early fall, when the weather is a wee bit warmer, and the days are a tad bit longer. The hectic scramble around Thanksgiving or Christmas is eliminated, and you can enjoy you’re tree, lights and wreaths for a longer. Imagine relaxing with hot cocoa next to your light up reindeer while watching your neighbors labor in the snow.

Step Three: Be mindful of the present moment. The season is temporary. Awareness of that simple fact can make you better able to persevere when things go wrong, and more appreciative when things go right. Life is jam packed with fleeting moments—savor each of them. Focus on the good happening at any given moment, and be present, engaged and attentive to all you’re doing, at the time you are doing it. When the long, boring, frigid days of January hit, you’ll be longing for the holiday parties, the plays, and the concerts, so enjoy them while they last.

Step Four: Don’t do it all, and/or, be okay with doing it differently. The store ran out of snow for your holiday village? Rather than scrambling to find new flakes, pretend the village had a warm winter. The meaning of your particular holiday will remain steadfast and true, even if you choose to not decorate anything at all. Feel free to think outside the box and delegate tasks. Perhaps there’s a teenager in your neighborhood looking for extra cash, perfect for personal assistant jobs like gift-wrapping, grocery shopping and post office runs.

Hopefully this enhances your holiday season. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy New Year! Enjoy!

Joanna Evans

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