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Be a Mindful Ho Ho Ho

Holidays are different post-pandemic. Black Friday shopping is NOT a thing I want to do like previous years. Those memories of sorting through the sales flyers after our Thanksgiving meal making our plan of attack was a lot of fun but I’m not into it anymore. Getting up at 5:00am to be the first in line when the store opened – I’m over that too. I’m not sad that I won’t see another brawl break out in a big box store over the last super cheap television set (I actually saw this 3 years in a row).

Since Covid I have been on a journey to live simply, and have donated tons of things to Goodwill. Thank you, Marie Kondo! Others are feeling it too – our extended family Christmas gathering gift exchange has been minimized to “just toys for the little kids” as it should be. This year we have a board game battle of EPIC proportions planned, and I can’t wait to see everyone for long overdue hugs.

Things are forever changed since the tragedy of loss we have experienced over the last 2 years. For too long we couldn’t hug our grandmas, weren’t allowed to visit the babies that were born, and were discouraged from attending funeral services for the ones we lost. IT HURT SO MUCH to be unable to see the people we love. I didn’t realize how much I liked hugging people until I wasn’t supposed to do it!

This holiday season I am focusing on awareness – being mindful in the moment to be fully present this holiday and take it all in. Here’s my top 6 mindfulness tips:

  1. Slow down and focus on your breath. This helps you get centered and cut the chatter in your own head.

  2. Pay attention to everything. Notice the small things, the smiling baby, pine scent of the Christmas tree, the sounds of conversations and laughter.

  3. Listen closely and truly engage in dialog. Consider the importance of being heard.

  4. Put down the phone – unless you are taking photos. Stay tuned in to those around you and be here now.

  5. Choose to let old bullshit go. If tensions rise or old family dynamics creep in – choose differently. Rise above old patterns and remember the love underneath it all. It’s there.

  6. Everything in moderation! Too much food and drink dull our experience. Over-drinking, over-eating, over-talking keeps us from truly experiencing the moment.

Tomorrow I will be sitting in the delicious chaos of 20 loved ones at my parents’ home attempting to catch up on 2 years of happenings, missed hugs, and to reconnect as a family. I will slowly sip my dad’s homemade brandy old-fashioned, eat mom’s cookies, and cherish these moments of togetherness and pandemonium. I am thankful for every second I get to spend with them all. Happy holidays!

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