Six Things to Skip This Year

The holiday season sends mixed messages. On the one hand, it tells us to be peaceful and joyful, to set aside time for spiritual reflection and to relax with family and friends. On the other hand, it is shouting that we need to get busy decorating, buying, baking, writing, attending, entertaining and otherwise “pulling off” the perfect celebration. It seems we are all running an invisible race from Thanksgiving through January second. Something’s gotta give.

The truth is, it is not our responsibility to “make” a Christmas merry. Admittedly, there are traditions we like to keep, foods we like to make, gifts we want to give, special events we want to attend, and so on. At the same time, we shouldn’t be wearing ourselves out.

Therefore, this year I have come up with a list of

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Christmas remembers the birth of an unknown child to a poor family in rough circumstances. The joy of the season should be as simple as that.

What could you skip this year to enrich your holiday experience?

28 thoughts on “Six Things to Skip This Year”

  1. These are such important reminders. We’re thinking along the same lines. In my post that goes live tomorrow, I address a similar topic. The holiday season can be stressful. As you so beautifully described, there are ways to let go to add more joy and less stress. I particularly love #6, which reminds us to be present instead of fast-forwarding to next. That in itself is a gift.
    Linda Samuels recently posted…9 Feng Shui Hacks That Will Improve Your Energy and HomeMy Profile

    1. I heard a therapist speak last week and she touched on this (although not particularly in relation to the holidays). The idea that we miss the moment because we are so preoccupied with what is coming next resonated with me, and I’ve been chewing on it ever since! Wishing you a rich and wonderful Hanukkah, Linda!!

  2. I love that we can skip traditions that are more draining than fun. Sometimes we have to know when it’s time to pass, put on hold or end a tradition. Traditions can run their course.

    I love this info graphic as an easy way to share information.

    1. I agree. There are some things I did when my children were little and we needed to occupy small hands and minds. Today, the landscape is different. Also, I may resurrect some of these if the time feels right in the years ahead. Each year is unique, and we should embrace what makes the celebration better and feel free to set the rest aside. Happy December Ellen!

    1. Thanks Diane! It can feel like such a crunch, but it is a shame if we miss the joy because we are running around, checking off items we don’t even really care about. I hope you have a peaceful and meaningful holiday season:)

    1. Yes, I think that would be hard for me. Family and the holiday celebrations feel connected to me. Every job/lifestyle has its positives and negatives. I think of all those serving in the military who are doing their job and also missing family. Wishing you two a wonderful holiday season, wherever you may be!

    1. This whole “mindfulness” thing is really starting to sink in with me. The constant planning ahead and multi-tasking is stealing joy from so many experiences. Even if we can only “drop in” for 5 minutes, it is worth it!

  3. First, let me say that I love your visuals, they’re very appealing and an attention graber. It does seem that we get over one holiday and then we’re into the next one, and yes, those transitions can be a lot. My favourite tip out of the 6, is #2. I think traditions are great, but as you clearly pointed out, if they cause you more headache than enjoyment, skip them. Great post Seana!

    1. Exactly, Shannon. Or just enjoy one or two traditions that are most appropriate for the stage of your life this year. I used to put our reindeer food and cookies for Santa. Nobody cares about that right now, so I’ve shelved that one. Maybe someday I’ll do it again, but in the meantime, I’m not baking a bunch of cookies that health-conscious family members are trying not to eat:)

    1. That is so interesting, Janet. You were almost too good at letting go, right? Now you may start some very new traditions that fit the life stage you are currently in. I would love to hear what you pick up!

  4. This year, we took in a holiday concert on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The concert was so much fun. Usually, we would be planning to do something like this but never get to because the month gets away from us. Then, I feel guilty we didn’t get to spend time together. By doing this early, it has helped me relax and enjoy the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas more. We will be doing that again.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…How to Find Wasted Storage Spaces in Your HomeMy Profile

    1. I love this idea, Sabrina. Buying tickets is one way I find helps me to “force the fun.” I’m much more likely to attend an event if I’ve invested money in it ahead of time. We have a tradition of going out to lunch and a movie the day after Thanksgiving (the girls), while the guys stay home and put out the outside lights. Works for me, and kicks off my season in a fun and not stressful way!

  5. You’re right–traditions can be draining! I have given clients ‘papal dispensation’ to not send out holiday cards. They are so relieved to have someone ‘give them permission’ to break away from what society says you ‘must do’. Loving your infographics–keep them coming!

    1. Holiday cards are completely optional, right? Lots of people don’t send them. I just stood in line behind someone telling me she hasn’t sent for three years and it feels great. Pick and choose the traditional activities that bring you pleasure and enhance your celebration.. and then release whatever is left.

  6. Letting go of traditions that are too draining is such a life lesson. The past 4 Christmases, I’ve had life events that limited my physical and emotional energy. I had to let some traditions go and focus on what was truly important to our family. The beauty is that now that I have my energy and focus back, I can pick those traditions back up (if I want). We should always focus on the people that are important to us, and not allow things or traditions to get in the way.

    1. Each year is unique, and I totally agree that a tradition we set aside one year may reappear in the future. Better to enjoy a couple of very meaningful and season-appropriate traditions than to “muscle through” a long list that don’t resonate!

  7. I think I need to teach my kids about #6! And myself about #3. I love the idea of giving ourself the space to skip what isn’t working. I think that’s crucial to mental health, and having a better holiday season. Some years I never get into the spirit at all because of all the things I’m holding onto that shouldn’t be there.

    1. I have years where some things feel harder to put down than others. I think being intentional about having “mandatory fun” can be a healthy habit. Sounds weird to talk about scheduling in a good time, but sometimes I need to give myself permission to put down the list and enjoy!

    1. I am a fan of setting boundaries. When it comes to shopping, a budget is the way to go. When it comes to physical stuff, the limitations of a shelf or a drawer can be very helpful. Thoughtful boundaries help us make good decisions!

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