By the time you read this, we will be in full holiday mode, with storefronts and houses adorned in all their holiday glory for the upcoming season.
As much as I look forward to this season, I often find myself getting anxious about how to get everything done, how we will afford everything we want to do, all with the added pressure of making sure everything is magical for my two kids, the youngest of whom is likely in his final “believe in the magic” years.
This is a dance that I am still mastering — how to simplify the busy holiday season without giving up too much of that aforementioned magic — and still maintain my sanity.
I have found that moving my heart into a space of very mindful thankfulness has been a great source of sanity for me and I share with you some of my favorite things to be thankful for — with the hopes it will help you search your own heart for thankful comforts and simplicity this season!
There is always something to be thankful for, isn’t there? Even in the darkest seasons of illness and misfortune, I have always found that there are silver linings adorning even the stormiest of clouds.
My challenge to you is this: Make a list — mental or physical — of your five most prized possessions.
It can be something tangible, like your family or friends, something material, such as your home or car or something you are working toward, such as fitness or a healthy lifestyle.
Pick your top five. Got them?
Now, look at each one of those top five with the goal of identifying all that makes that so special to you.
Thankful for your family? Think about the things that make you feel that way.
While we may have family members who test our limits (hello, middle school parents — I am talking to you) or push us to our highest stress levels — but beyond the day to day stresses, remind yourself the things you love about those special people in your life.
You will not only be filled with gratitude for their place in your life but the reminder of their role in your season of thanksgiving will help you navigate the not so warm and fuzzy moments that the stress of the holidays can often bring!
Some of you are reading this and thinking that filling out that thankful list is hard to do — and that is OK!
If your heart is troubled because of a short thankful list, take some time to think about the things in your life that are less than stellar.
Do you have a rocky relationship that needs some work or perhaps are mourning a terrible loss of a loved one?
Use this season of mindful thanksgiving to think about how to move forward.
If a relationship is one you plan to continue, can you brainstorm ways that you can mend the rift?
If you are grieving, especially if this is the first holiday season without a loved one, take some time to think of one new tradition you can bring this year, in honor of that loved one.
Coming to a holiday gathering with an empty chair is heartbreaking but finding a way to honor your loved one with a new and special tradition that can be carried forward for years to come is one way to heal your heart and carry forth that loved one’s beautiful legacy.
One final way to stay sane during an often stressful season is to not put a price tag on your happiness.
If you cannot afford to buy gifts for your family and loved ones, don’t!
This thankful season should be about the giving of yourself and your time — and not about putting yourself into debt or financial crisis to do so.
If you cannot give gifts, find a way to spend some extra time together.
Sign your friends or family up to volunteer at a local homeless shelter or food bank — this is always an eye opener to see that material gifts pale in comparison to those given with the heart.
(Editor’s Note: Kristine George is a freelance journalist who resides in Easton.)