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.