Would you like more peace at home for the holidays?
Many of us spend large amounts of time and money trying to find happiness in buying and giving gifts for the holidays. As we ultimately find out, chasing happiness doesn’t work, especially when we look for it outside of ourselves in material possessions.
Beware of these traps:
Looking for happiness in possessions. Like many folks, I used to believe that possessions would make me happy. Then in my early 30’s at the peak of my earnings and material success, I was still unhappy and wondered why. I decided to leave my career and explore meaning, faith and travel.
Thinking you will be happy when X happens at some point in the future. It is far better to do things that contribute to your happiness NOW. The latest research is finding that lasting happiness comes from living a meaningful life. And for many people, service to others can open doors in our hearts that create lasting satisfaction that isn’t dependent on passing circumstances.
Let’s explore a wiser path to peace and happiness.
Borrowing some tips from becoming minimalist, here’s my list to create peace at home for the holidays:
Spend more time with your friends and family. Healthy relationships build connection, soothe our soul and can even help reduce stress! Why not spend time with people who nurture and value you? Instead of the money and stress of buying presents, maybe you can simply gather to celebrate love, the season and any spiritual traditions that are important to you. Experiences have more lasting value than presents.
Give money to charities (that speak to your heart) in place of gifts. For me, that means environmental and peace groups like the Peace Alliance. Giving often feels better than receiving. This is a big part of why we like to give presents, but helping others less fortunate has more meaning and joy for me. I’m increasing my joy and meaning, while reducing the time and money spent on gifts, wrapping, etc.
Slow down to appreciate your life and the meaning of the season. Take back the holidays from our mass obsession with buying presents. If you really like giving gifts, maybe make some gifts, or sort your possessions to find items to give to shelters, homes and groups that serve the less fortunate. We can extend the Gratitude Season all the way to the New Year. Maybe we’ll like it so much we go for the whole year!
Learn about the power of less. I always feel better when I simplify and reduce my possessions. Keeping less items, we focus more on quality and the joy in having and using our special items. Don’t wait for someday special, use your fancy clothes, furnishings, etc. today!
Take time to relax at home or in nature. You knew I had to sneak it in! Nature is my foundation for many things like peace, beauty, solitude, connection and joy. Who says you need to make a big production of everything. Whatever you’re doing, thinking, feeling probably isn’t as important as it seems in the moment. The world with it’s problems and joys will still be there tomorrow!
Celebrate the season! What’s important to you? One of my favorite holiday events was a gathering to celebrate the “light” for solstice. Besides the time to talk and connect, we gathered in a circle and talked about what ‘feeds the light’ or makes us feel more connected to life. I also enjoy caroling with a group. Have you ever gone caroling in a neighborhood? Not everyone will rave or even answer the door! but others will be touched by this simple gesture.
16 thoughts on “Peace at Home for the Holidays”
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Melikes. Especially the “giving” advocacy. Ditto for sharing meaningful time with family and friends. Nice seasonal piece, Brad. Thanks!
You’re welcome Eric, I feel so much better when I give. As is often the case, I’m writing to remind myself of lessons to be lived. Thanks for being part of my online community. To peaceful and meaningful connections.
What a lovely and apt picture, breathing peace! The new looking page is also more appealing.
While we keep on chasing happiness, buying and giving gifts is slightly different…they are the little joys, tiny moments of gratification that become apart of life, quite unknowingly. We have inherent virtues which speak to us from time to time and I like your advice of building connections, of giving love, of nurturing relationships. Undoubtedly that is true, unchased happiness.
Thanks Brad, for a lovely post!
Thank you dear Balroop. I like your phrase of building on little joys, I think I even posted about that last year! You and other readers who take the time to read and comment are part of my little joys. I appreciate you and your comments. May we keep building little joys and connections in our lives. Blessings, Brad
What a great post! I feel the same way entirely. I recently found a local FB group to unite those in need with those willing to donate. So far, I posted an outgrown car seat that was quickly claimed by a young mom. I got a bigger thrill out of that than I likely will watching my family open my gifts at Christmas. (That a child will be safer is a bonus.) It was easier than selling it AND it’s one less piece of clutter in my home (and mind). Now I’m searching for more!
Thank you Teresa. I’m delighted that you’re having fun finding things to give. It feels great, doesn’t it? I have 2 bags full of items to bring to a shelter. Do we have to call you “mother Teresa” now? Happy holidays!
You’re a little late pinning that dubiously deserved moniker on me! But it is and it does. Before I moved here, I had a big sale and the leftovers were donated (a pickup truck and trailer FULL) to my local thrift store, plus a carload of books, movies and music to the library. I simply couldn’t afford to move everything I’d accumulated in 56 years. Watching them drive away, I nearly had a panic attack, thinking how I couldn’t afford to give it all away when I’d just lost my job and didn’t know what my future held half way across the country. Rather than chase them, screaming, down the road, I walked back in and looked around my barren house. An overwhelming feeling of having a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders slowly engulfed me. I’ve been addicted to that feeling ever since. Giving is not an entirely unselfish act. 😉
Thanks Teresa! I’m delighted that you’re having fun with giving things always feel good for both the giving and the lightening of the ‘load’. I’ve collected 2 bags of items to bring to a shelter. Do I have to call you “mother Teresa” now for all your spirited giving? 🙂 Happy Holidays!
What a great story Teresa! You described it so well. I’ve done the same a couple of times. Occasionally, I’ve given away things I later wanted, but overall I too have a passion to keeping it simple and giving away my stuff! Yes, it benefits me and feels good too!
It may sound a trifle selfish, but I prefer to give directly whenever possible. Having family members who delight in shopping at the “SA Boutique” (Salvation Army) for things they can easily afford new (which I deplore), I’d rather see things put directly in the hands of the needy and deserving.
No I think that is wise. I prefer the same. 1 of my bags is for a friend’s event collecting personal care items for families while in the hospital.
I somehow already know you will have a season of peace, love and joy Brad! So, I will just wish that your light will shine brighter than ever this season and in the coming year ahead! A Blessed Christmas. A Magnificent New Year! Sharon p.s. love the new look of the blog.
Thanks Sharon! I’m all for peace as you can tell by my post and being part of Bloggers for Peace, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have to keep practicing and reaching for it. Or take time to sit in the silence! I will carry your blessings in my heart for a blessed Christmas filled with the joy of cyber friends like you who continue to touch and inspire me. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year! 🙂
I’m on the same page, Brad, re the holidays and what’s meaningful and what’s not. Sometimes, it’s challenging with family so far away. Then I remember that my ‘family’ includes a lot of people not related by blood. So, I keep reinventing my relationship with the holidays. It’s a good time to take stock and see where I’m at with regard to my long-term goals and intentions. Also, a big part of the season for me is singing and sharing and community. Always looking for new ways to share. Stay well…
Thanks John, It’s nice to have you visiting my ‘home’ for the holidays! Maybe we’ll see each other in person. I like the idea of reinventing our relationship to holidays as we grow and change. I love singing, but didn’t get to do any this year. To new ways to share. happy holidays.