When I think of Christmas, I think about lights, music, warm cookies from the oven, the smell of the heater coming on, and spending time with family. I also think about gift shopping, wrapping, buying a ton of decorations. It’s easy to get caught in the materialistic side of the holidays, especially when every store you walk into, there’s display after display of “holiday essentials” that you “just need to have”!
However, no matter how many decorations or gadgets or gizmos you buy or however much money you spend on presents this holiday season, it can’t buy you happiness.
Here are some suggestions on how to avoid getting “wrapped up” in materialism this holiday season:
- Love & Family: Your first priority should be to spend time with friends and family this holiday season– and really focus on them. Ask questions about work, school, life in general and really focus on their answers. Having quality conversation with family, especially if you don’t get to see them that often, can distract you from focusing too much on who’s giving who what gift.
- Kindness: Practice random acts of kindness and compassion. Volunteer. Participate in an Angel Tree.
- Find meaning: Why are you celebrating the holidays? Tradition? Religion? Find meaning through a church or another spiritual way, or through those you love in life or through the things you’re passionate about. Give yourself a purpose.
- Focus on your health: We tend to forget about taking care of ourselves during the holidays, we get so wrapped up in preparations. Make an effort to eat healthy most days of the week and splurge on the actual holiday. Get to the gym when you can.
- Grateful list: Make a list of things about which you’re grateful in your life. Give thanks for them daily. Or, keep a gratitude journal and try to write down one thing every day that you’re thankful for.
- Monitor your urges: Keep track of the number of times you want to buy something, whether you’re online, watching TV, or at a store. Once you become more aware of your urges to buy things, you can start to control them.
- Avoid the mall or Wal-Mart. Try to avoid the massive shopping areas as best as you can. If you need a place to spend your time, go somewhere where you don’t have to spend too much money– a park, ice skating, or have a night in cooking with your spouse. If you need to buy something, go to a single store, get in and out, and try not to get sucked in by all the displays!
Staying mindful and in the present moment during this holiday season can keep us focused on what’s really important– family, friends, love and tradition.
How do you stay present during the holiday season?