The Vagabondage Series: Wherein Elana creates space and lets the holidays in.
If you’re reading this, you made it through the recent Black Friday holiday shopping frenzy. Congratulations. If you participated, you have my admiration for surviving it, and if you didn’t, you have my admiration for choosing not to.
Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, or La Posada, the holidays are a busy stretch of rituals, drunk uncles, symbolism, and festivity. Although, in recent years, the winter holiday season has become less synonymous with its original meaning and more reminiscent of a feverish 30-day shopping extravaganza. Malls and boutiques are crawling with people and lousy with so-called bargains. Advertising and marketing departments spare no tactics or expense with glitzy, over-the-top commercial and print ads featuring the hottest electronics, cosmetics, fashion, food, and all manner of tchotchkes.
But you know that isn’t what it’s all about, right?
As children, most of us delighted in things like making snowflake cutouts, singing Christmas carols, spinning the dreidel, and savouring the aroma and taste of baked goods while waiting in delicious anticipation of undiscovered toys and treats.
That’s what holidays are meant to be, warm, fun, and full of light. But now, as adults, the holidays are often subject to a host of negatives, like shopping drama, anxiety and stress, financial worries, depression, and a sense of panic trying to please everyone.
That’s why, this year, I was inspired to do the holidays differently. No stress, no frantic fretting, no emptying of my wallet, no drama, and definitely some peace and connection.
Last week, the concept of space was the fruit of conversation during my call with my coach. And there was one thing, among many, that stood out in bold.
In order to think new thoughts, you need to create space for them to occur.
Create the space. Then. . .guard and protect it.
Especially during the holidays. I still need space to feel, think, and be, to feel open, relaxed, and connected to myself and others. All of us do. This need is amplified during the holidays when the demand on our time is higher.
So, in the spirit of serving this need I have eliminated a few things from this year’s holiday to-do list.
The elimination of actions that I feel I somehow ‘have to do’ has allowed me to achieve a level of pre-Christmas peace that I had not previously known. It’s wonderful! I don’t have to bake; make/send Christmas cards; run from store to store to buy gifts; plan elaborate meals; make reservations; worry about money (I’m saving tons!); or cook and clean.
Instead, I’ve shifted from a case of the holiday have-tos to a case of the holiday want-tos. Give yourself permission not to have to do anything. It is incredibly liberating and will lead to your real want-tos.
When I crossed off my have-tos, I made space for my want-tos – things like playing board games with my family, ice skating, reading, making crafts, listening to music, singing carols, sleeping, a tour of the city lights, hot chocolate, sharing loving thoughts and gratitude with people I care about. I’m already doing a lot of this, and I can’t wait to do more.
Christmas this year feels less forced and much calmer than ever before thanks to creating a new way of thinking around the holidays.
Dear space, thank you for bringing me fresh insight, new ideas, and brighter illumination.
And dear Sandi, thanks for introducing us.
I wish the same for you this holiday season.
- Write out your Have-tos.
- Take a deep breath. . .write out your Want-tos.