Personalizing Your Holidays for a Peaceful Holiday Season

The following is written by Life as MOM contributing writer, Prerna:

In this day and age of personalizing everything – books, toys, clothes and more, I wonder why we aren’t thinking about personalizing our holidays. Why is it that we get so caught up in doing what the world thinks we should be doing during the holiday season that we completely forget about having fun, relaxing and enjoying the real spirit of the season?

That is why when I read,

We put pressure on one another, whether purposefully or unintentionally, to do more, buy more, cook more, “celebrate” more. While in reality, we can enjoy more — with a lot less.

Thinking About a Simpler Season

I decided, “I am going to personalize this holiday season to our family’s needs and likes.”

Here are some ways in which you, too, can personalize your holidays and fill them with intentionality, peacefulness and simplicity:

Choose Activities that You Really, Truly, Deeply Enjoy

One of the first things that I would be doing is taking a good, hard look at ALL the activities that make up the holiday season for us – greeting cards, decorating, shopping, cooking, cleaning and then, fine tune them to include ONLY those activities that all of us truly enjoy and feel add meaning to our celebrations.

This is probably the hardest step since we’ve all been conditioned to think about how certain things make the holidays, well, the holidays.

But seriously, think about it.

If sending greeting cards is a huge stress on your time and budget and you’re really doing it because you’re expected to and not because you want to, are you really showing your kids the real meaning of Christmas or New Year?

Make Your Own Traditions

Instead of following what everyone else terms as holiday traditions, I’m planning to make our own family traditions. We did a little of this last year with wearing the same type of clothes as each other. This year, depending upon what we include in our holiday planner, we’ll make our own family traditions. Even if it is something as simple and silly as eating Christmas-colored cookies.

Make Time for Reflection and Relaxation

A peaceful season is one in which you’ve made time to reflect on relationships, your inner self, your family’s happiness. It is one in which you’ve taken time to relax, kick back and hang out with your kids instead of running around crossing things off your to-do list. Yeah, I’ve been there once too often.

So, this season, I’m committed to making time for plenty of fun with my toddler, showing her that the holidays don’t have to be a whirlwind of activity. I’m also taking time to actually sit down and talk to my husband about the year gone by and the year ahead. Yes, you’d be surprised at how easy it is to not do this as you rush around cooking and cleaning.

Plan for a Peaceful Season

If you need inspiration for a peaceful season, I highly recommend you download Jessica’s free eBook today and spend some time using your Organizing Life as Mom eBook to create a holiday schedule that is easy, simple and completely stress-free for everyone in the family, “the people who matter the most”.

So, how would you be personalizing your holidays this year?

– Prerna Malik is a mom, a wife, a writer and woman who believes in parenting with love, being postively productive, and creating a home that invites you to put your feet up and relax. Find her sharing her simple tips and easy-to-do ideas at The Mom Writes or follow her on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. One of the ways that I personalize our holidays is by using family recipes – some that have been passed down through four generations by the time I get them! There’s just something about pulling out a recipe that mom (or grandma or great-grandma) always made at the holidays that makes me feel connected to my family – even if I never had the chance to meet them.

    If you’re interested in seeing some of the recipes that I use, I wrote a post about them earlier this week: http://www.carriesbusynothings.com/2011/11/stockings-were-hung-favorite-recipes.html

    • Dear Carrie,

      That is a lovely tradition indeed and brings both family and cooking into the picture. Thank you for sharing your post and your “personalizing” tip:-)

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Love having traditional recipes. We use some old and some “new” that we’ve tried and liked and then they become tradition for us.

  2. We have decided that instead of just treats in our advent calendar, one day a week there will be a little note with a good deed to do for a neighbor or friend on it. it will help us eat better and feel better during the holidays.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      That is fantastic! Last year we spontaneously did Toys for Tots while shopping at Walmart. It was really fun. This year, I have a gift card dedicated to doing it again. :)

  3. Great post! I have always felt like our Christmases were coming up short because I don’t make Christmas cookies. I know that sounds silly, but it was something that was very important in my family growing up. I love sending out cards, though. And I will eat cookies from other people while I do it.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      Lose the guilt. Just enjoy the things that really matter to you. I once felt that way about Christmas cards, but not anymore.

  4. I was just writing about our new family tradition of a talent show after the Thanksgiving meal on my blog. The kids are all super excited to have that happen. Traditions are so important!!

    Also, looking forward to adding some new traditions to our Christmas schedule. And yes, not doing anything out of guilt and because I’m expected to by others….thanks for that reminder!

    (If you want to read about our new talent show tradition, it’s here:
    http://www.sidetrackedsarah.com/2011/11/thanksgiving-our-newest-tradition.html)

  5. Baking is big at our house. Well, not so much baking, actually. Mixing, kneading, pinching, pressing, and eating cookie dough is huge at our house. The 12 minutes of agony in the oven lasts a lifetime before it’s time to ice, sprinkle, and eat. This year, maybe we’ll bake more, advent calendar less, and have a little more free time.

  6. One tradition we do every year is to have the kids make gingerbread houses and I take photos of them doing it. I put the photos together into a scrapbook for the grandparents and they absolutely love it. They also get the gingerbread house for display. We also have tea with Mrs Claus who visits our local tea room. (She’s the owner’s mother) It’s a little pricey but worth every penny. Those are our two main traditions so far.

    As far as the greeting cards go I do not like doing it. It’s costly and time consuming BUT I love love love getting them so I feel obligated to send them out. I get about 40 cards a year from friends I haven’t seen in years and I really love keeping that connection going. I don’t like the ACT of doing cards but I feel like doing them results in GETTING something I love, so it’s worth it to me. One thing I’m struggling with is buying for the kids’ teachers. (We have 3) I really appreciate their teachers and want to show them but the cost of gifts feels a like a burden.

    • Jessica Fisher says:

      One year we had a gingerbread house competition on Thanksgiving. We broke into teams. It was great fun. I think we might do that again this year.

      I feel ya on the cards. My disappointment comes when I spend the time to write a letter in the card and then I just get a “happy holidays” in return.

      As for gifts, my mother-in-law was a school teacher and some of her favorite gifts were things like a $5 gift card to Starbucks. Packaged in a cute card from your child, that could be an easy way.

  7. Great timing. I was just running in circles trying to decide how we were going to get some things done. I really don’t want to run around with a to do list that is ten feet long. We have struggled off and on for years with cookie making. Last year I finally realized the boys like to decorate, but they don’t care about the baking. A ha! I can bake while the big ones are at school. They get to have fun, I get to have fun, and half of the mess is eliminated.

    We gave up on sending cards, and that was a relief too.

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