We are halfway through with November which means the winter holidays are just around the corner. Now is a great time to set your intentions for the holidays.
/inˈten(t)SH(ə)n(ə)l/ Learn to pronounce adjective
1. Done on purpose; deliberate.
By being intentional this holiday season, you can decrease the stress and embrace what this season has to offer. Start by asking a few simple questions. I suggest journaling your answers to get very clear on what you are doing this season.
· What does this season mean to you?
· What do you like about the holidays?
Now that we have answered those questions, we are going to start by being intentional with our calendars.
Start by listing the activities that you have each November and December. Now we need to audit them by making three lists; events that are a priority that adds value, activities you “have to go to,” and activities that are optional and do not add value. Now review column 2 and 3 and decide right now that you will not be attending them. If an activity is not adding value to your life or you feel obligated to go, you do not need to attend it. For those of you that are convincing yourself that your “have to attend” items must stay, then add them to your calendar with the understanding that you are choosing to attend them; this means you are being intentional with the activity. The holiday season does not take priority over your mental health, and by being intentional with your time, you are creating space for you. I started doing this process two years ago, and it has made a huge difference in how I view the season. My family has many birthdays this time of year as well, so my calendar had no breathing room with the holidays and birthday activities. I truly enjoy celebrating birthdays, but I often felt overwhelmed with the other activities the last six months of the year. When you look at the priorities list for this season, you can decide what you want in your life. This is a huge step in being intentional this holiday season.
Being intentional with your financial goals and situation is even more pertinent for the future. Each holiday season, we must decide how much we are going to spend. When we do not create a budget for a holiday you will likely overspend and end up eating ramen for all of January. (Not the best way to start your new year’s resolution.) By creating a holiday gift budget, listing exactly how much you will be spending, and what you are spending your money on for each person you can plan for the holiday and start the year on the right track. Something that I like to do is keep a running list of gift ideas all year long. If I notice something or hear someone talking about a particular item, I add it to my list for them. I also keep a list of ideas of what to make others each year, and I am intentional about those gifts to ensure they are adding value to their lives. I do this by giving something either functional or beautiful. Another good idea is to either plan a date or create a craft in lieu of gifts. This puts the pressure off of each of you for finding the perfect gift.
Being intentional with your home and guests can start right now. Wouldn’t it be nice to come home after a busy day of activities to rest instead of thinking of all the things you need to do? Or to not fret about cleaning your house top to bottom in the hopes that your relative won’t notice how hectic your home is? Decluttering your home can make your life and the holidays much more enjoyable. When you have less stuff, you have less to clean, less to sort, and you can prepare your home for the gifts you will be receiving. Often, our homes are a reflection of your thoughts and tend to be due to indecision. Getting intentional now with your home will help you this holiday season by adding more time to do the things you want to do. Do you need help decluttering? The Going Simple Challenge is a great blog and Facebook group that sets you up for 5 weeks of decluttering to get you ready for the holidays.
Getting intentional with this season means we need to decide right now what we want out of season. Make sure your priorities are not interfering with your plans. If you’re going to spend time with your family, focusing on getting everything right is not going to be the priority. If you want to embrace what the season has to offer, we wouldn’t want to overbook ourselves so that we can’t do things spontaneously. Making sure our intentions are in line with our plans is a great way to be intentional. In the past, I would schedule so many things on my calendar that I wasn’t enjoying the actual activities making my expectation of enjoying the season impossible. By setting your expectations for this season, we can focus on the things that will meet them, and we can let go of the less important aspects.
Additional Holiday Tips:
· Schedule the events on a calendar for the whole family to see.
· Add gift expenses to your budget and plan your paychecks accordingly.
· Black Friday is not always the best day to shop as there are often better deals before and after Black Friday. Also, stores receive exclusive items specifically for Black Friday that are lower quality items.
· Don’t save your shopping for the last minute and instead be intentional with your time and gift ideas.
· Give gifts that can be consumed, used, or loved.
· Inform people what you want or opt for activity-based gifts to avoid unwanted clutter.
· If you receive a gift you didn’t ask for take it with gratitude. Marie Kondo has a great article about this very topic.
I know the holiday season can be a fun and stressful time of the year. Often we can let the stress take over for the season, and you may end up feeling disengaged and melancholy. I am hoping that by answering these questions and following the suggestions, you can create an intentional plan for the holidays. Often we forget what this season is truly about, which is to spread love and hope. It is not just gifts and activities but instead about celebrating the love you have for each other. Make sure to take some time and contemplate what you want to focus on this season. Be sure to share any insight you had after reading these ideas.