Friday, December 17, 2010

are you "holidazed"?

Feeling a little dazed from all your holiday activities? Try some of these tips for the holidays and I think you'll have a more memorable end to your year.

7 Holiday Tips
1.   Get a head-start on gifts. I always try to shop throughout the year, and some years I do better than others. But having gifts purchased ahead of time (shopping online is great for this, too) enables me to wander through stores and enjoy the hustle and bustle without getting trampled by it. Or I can avoid the stores altogether. Ahhh.
2.   Set up a special calendar for the month of December. This is especially helpful for the next couple of weeks. I consolidate all of my party invites and activities (not forgetting the Evites, mandatory office parties and word-of-mouth stuff) and put them on one calendar so I can plot what I can fit in and what I can't. I also schedule things like baking, shopping, trips to the post office and other unexpected time-thieves.
3.   Take one commitment at a time. The last thing I want is to enter 2011 not remembering what I did at the end of 2010. When I sit down with a friend for coffee, I will look her in the eye and pay attention to what she's saying. When I open gifts with my family, I will be there and enjoy their reactions. When I attend a Christmas service, I will belt out every carol and reflect on the message.
4.   Ditch my iPhone. This is tied to number three. Christmas is not the time to have divided attention, so I will leave my phone off or unattended whenever possible. I don't need to check e-mail constantly, nor do I need to keep tabs on every friend's vacation via texting.
5.   Spend a bit of time each evening in front of my tree. There's a reason I bought that thing and labored to set it up in the stand, decorate it and water it every day. Just winding down each evening in my dark living room with only the light of the tree often prompts me to spend some necessary time in prayer and reflection.
6.   Keep an advent calendar. This is a fun, "anchoring" thing for me to do. It reminds me of my childhood, and provides a little glimpse of the anticipation of advent as I wait to open a door each morning and see the Christmas story unfold.       
7.   Plan meaningful conversations. Throughout the season, I try to say something encouraging or "real" to as many people as possible. We exchange any number of pleasantries at Christmas, but I want people to know that I'm interested in them. And some folks I only see at Christmas. So I use the time to ask them about their year, open a spiritual conversation or tell them how much they mean to me. It's an exercise in intentionality that has never disappointed.

Tips taken from the Boundless Webzine Editor.
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