5 Ways to Help You Be More Content This Holiday Season
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.
Want to enjoy the season a little bit more? Consider these 5 ways to help you be a little more content this Christmas.
As you know by now, the holiday season is ramping into gear. Black Friday ads, Christmas gift guides, and all kinds of marketing literally shout at us to Buy! Buy! Buy! It can be a little overwhelming when you don’t have an unlimited budget. And even if you do, it’s distracting from more meaningful pursuits.
I wonder if millionaires get in a frenzy on Christmas. I’m thinking they probably don’t. They don’t need to find the deals; they don’t need to plan ahead; they have assistants they can send shopping, right? Iknow that even millionaires and celebrities aren’t completely happy. Money doesn’t buy happiness.
Whether the bank balance has ten digits or two, we all need the same thing: to be content with what we have.
That can be difficult to pull off during the holiday season since there’s such a focus on buying, sales, and acquiring more stuff.
I’ve been thinking about that, particularly after an outing to a mall or shopping center. How can I be more content at home instead of getting sucked into the frenzy of holiday commercialism?
Here are a few solutions I came up with:
Clean your house.
How will cleaning your house make you more content?! Well, I know that when I start putting all our stuff in order and getting things shipshape, I’m reminded of all the stuff that I bought that I don’t really need. I certainly don’t want more stuff to take care of!
Cleaning house reminds me of our abundance. When I put a room in order, I see all the beauty that we already have; we don’t need more. We just need more time and attention to enjoy the things that we do have.
Getting rid of stuff can also help you feel more content. In fact, having less actually makes me feel FREE! Last weekend, my brother-in-law did hours of triage on the kids’ school computer. It was a lost cause. The hard drive was fried, so I gave it to my sister. With a new hard drive and Brett’s know-how, she’s got an upgraded machine, and I have one less machine to add to the PC Graveyard.
When they arrived I had THREE old PC’s and TWO old laptops in my closet. Brett pulled the hard drives from them so I could dispose of them without wondering if someone digging through the electronic recycling would walk off with my identity. I feel no need for a new computer, but I love all the space in the closet! Getting rid of things has freed me up!
Likewise, we can have things bogging down our calendars. Do you say yes to everything? Is it time to prioritize your holiday engagements and decline a few good, but not great invitations? The more your family can spend their days in the regular routine of home life — instead of running around to all kinds of events — the more peaceful you will all feel.
If you get rid of things that distract you or clutter up your life, you will feel more content. A weight will be lifted and you will be able to enjoy what’s going on around you. Plan now for a simpler season.
Plan for meaningful gifts and experiences.
Whether you have the budget for everything anyone could want or not, make meaningful gifts and experiences a priority. They give you the biggest bang for the buck and they make memories that last for quite some time, so choose your gifts wisely.
My dad often treats us to a movie at the holidays. I know that experiencing Frozen or Big Hero 6 with my parents and the cousins has made a more lasting impression on my kids than that same money spent on stuff that they would forget who gave it to them in a month’s time.
When we know we’ve put heart into a gift or event, we can rest a little easier that it wasn’t the priciest thing under the tree.
Create a peaceful climate.
I think a lot of our holiday discontent stems from all the noise that comes with the season. Commercials, jingles, even Christmas music can create a climate of chaos that distracts us and puts us ill at ease.
Let’s make efforts to have peace at home: a warm fire or some candles, soft music, a tidy house, reduced clutter, a cleared calendar — these things help us enjoy our homes and the people who live in them.
Be still and breathe deeply.
This really can be the most wonderful time of the year. We celebrate the fact that God became flesh and dwelt among us. THIS is amazing! Let’s be still and bask in that miracle. Let’s breathe deep, take things more slowly, and enjoy these lives we’ve been given. Life is good. We just need eyes to see it.
Great post, Jessica. I like what you had to say about cleaning and clutter. I am working on gratitude this season. I find it helpful to read an Advent devotional. It helps keep me grounded. There is a good one that uses Henri Nouwen’s writing and this year I will use Ann Voskamp’s. Maybe others have more good ideas too on this.
Such a great post! One thing I’m really working on is that fourth one. I’m trying so hard to help my extended family understand that what the kids want is more time with them, not more stuff. They’d love it if they could go to a movie outing or bake cookies with them or something like that… but it is hard to convince some people that this is “enough”. They start to want to do that AND give more stuff. And even the kids know they don’t need more stuff.
I try to get rid of stuff too, but is can be challenging with a bigger range of ages. I have an 11 month old to a 12 year old, and that means we have baby toys and duplos and legos and a play kitchen… and they all get tons of play! It is hard to simplify the toys when there’s such a range of interest. But I do pretty well on the household stuff at least.
We just moved and every cupboard in our storage-laden house is full and we still have random boxes out in the open. I think it means that I need to get rid of things. It really does make a difference in creating a peaceful climate. Something to work on…
I’m really thinking of purging in a crazy way. Only I’m worried that I’ll end up rebuying later.
Well, what about taking the stuff you want to purge that you’re unsure about and stick it in a box in the garage. Make a note in your iPhone calendar in 3 months to deliver the box to charity. If you need it between now and then, you know you shouldn’t get rid of it.
We recently moved to a new state and being surrounded by all these boxes and THINGS has quenched our desire for any more. Even my 9 year old could only name 2 things she wanted. Many years ago as a teenager I read a quote, don’t remember where or by who, that said “You can have anything that you want, but you can’t have everything you want.” So pick the ones that mean the most.
There’s two parts to contentment to the the holiday season – reducing the clutter of meaningless material goods and busyness, but also reducing the “clutter” of comparing family situations. So many of us do not have an intact family – widowhood, divorce, , an alcoholic relative not in recovery, adult survivors of child abuse, etc. etc. Etc. For folks in these situations, it’s very easy to let envy reign during the holidays – wishing for a. wonderful, intact family making happy memories.
This kind of mental clutter can be managed by cultivating an attitude of gratitude for life’s many blessings, a faith in God (even when puzzled by His actions!) and by avoiding a lot of the media images and Facebook postings that Foster envy.
Works for me 🙂
Thanks for making that really important point. My husband grew up in a divorced family, so he knows first hand, and I secondhand, how hard those things can be. He really struggled with Christmas when we first married and wanted to blow it off. Slowly, he has redeemed it by making new traditions for our family.
I’m so glad he is enjoying creating new traditions!
I’ve been thinking about your original comment in light of how that longing can turn our hearts toward God and make us more dependent on him. Discontent doesn’t always have to be bad. You know?
I know that very well