Your Best Holidays Ever

Cute Santa at Happy Simple Living blog

Photo by Jazz Man

So…what do you want for Christmas?

Today begins our new challenge, “All Done By December One,” a month-long series about bringing harmony to the holidays. If you’ve signed on, it’s likely that you’re hoping the 2012 holiday season will be different in some way. Perhaps, like me, you struggle to get everything done by December 25 and you long for a simpler, more meaningful celebration of Christmas. Or maybe you’re looking for some ideas to get organized, save money and have fun. Perhaps you’re tired of running yourself ragged trying to prepare for what should be a season of joy and peace.

No matter what your motivation is, I bet you put a lot of thought and energy into trying to give your loved ones and friends a special holiday. But I’m thinking about you as I write this, and I have a very important question for you:

What would you really like for Christmas this year?

The first step in creating a plan for this holiday season is to spend a little time thinking about the Big Picture. Your Holiday Homework is to find a quiet place to curl up with a journal or a pad of paper. Close your eyes for a few minutes, and think about the holidays. If you like, you can say a prayer and ask for divine guidance. What sorts of ideas, longings and images come to mind?

Quiet Christmas at Happy Simple Living blog

Photo: D Kinney

Start making a list, and write down any crazy thing that pops into your mind. Maybe you’ll do these things and maybe you won’t, but the important thing is to capture all of those thoughts and ideas so you can begin to shape your celebrations.

Write down the big things and the small things. Maybe you long for more family time together. Perhaps you want to simplify, and reduce spending and over-consuming (and that embarrassing, too-big pile of presents under the tree). Or maybe you want to think of some creative ways to bring more spirituality into your celebrations.

Christmas joy at Happy Simple Living blog

Photo: Richard BH

Perhaps you want to try some new activities. Maybe this year you want to make a gingerbread house. Or perhaps you want to go snow-shoeing. Or cut down your own Christmas tree.

Christmas sleigh ride at Happy Simple Living blog

Photo: Jumpy Jodes

Maybe you want to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. Or snuggle on the couch with your kids and watch Christmas movies. Or read the Christmas story from the Bible as a family. Or make homemade peanut brittle. Or crochet an afghan for your grandma. Or meet your girlfriends for shopping and martinis. Whatever it is, write it down!

Maybe what your heart is telling you is that you need to do less this year. Perhaps you wish you could eliminate some exhausting traditions or create more time for quiet and reflection. Write that down, too.

Christmas birdfeeder at Happy Simple Living blog

Photo: Walt Stoneburner

Chocolate truffles at Happy Simple Living blog

Photo: Fiona Shields

This may seem counter-intuitive, but I want you to include at least one special thing that you want for Christmas this year on your list. It could be a box of luscious chocolate truffles, piano lessons, a soft scarf, a new pair of boots, a special book – whatever is calling to you. I know, I know, we’re used to thinking of everyone else’s needs first. We’ll get to those next week, but for now I want you to to focus on YOU. Promise me you’ll think of a special indulgence just for you and add it to your list, okay?

Your homework this week is to write out your own holiday wish list, and tuck it away in a safe place where you can refer back to it this month. If you’re so inclined, feel free to share some of your ideas in the comments section below. (If you want to take a peek at my list, I’ve posted it here. I’m sure I’ll be adding to it as I read your ideas!)

By mindfully considering your Christmas celebration, you’re taking an important first step toward shaping this special season of joy. Next Monday we’ll begin working on specific plans to help you accomplish the tasks of Christmas earlier this year, leaving you some time to truly enjoy the weeks leading up to the celebration.

Meanwhile, here’s to your best, happiest holiday season ever,

The signature for Eliza Cross

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

9 comments to Your Best Holidays Ever

  • eliza_cross

    Marie,
    I’m so glad you posted your list in English so we can all read it. I hope you get every wish. 🙂
    xo

  • I’ve just posted my own list on my blog.
    Thank you for this challenge, it gets me thinking about what I really want instead of waiting for the last minute to think “I wish I had…”.
    This year is the first year we will be having Christmas at our house with my partner and I have a feeling your challenge is going to be a valuable help!

  • […] et j’ai enfin pris le temps de le faire pour cette semaine. De quoi je parle? De l’exercice de cette semaine qui consiste à noter ce que l’on veut pour noël – notre idéal, notre rêve. Voilà […]

  • I have thought about the question of what I want for a couple of days. Isn’t it strange to think I had trouble coming up with something? I feel so lucky to have so much already, but finally I realized there is something I do need and want… a rain poncho. Now that I have given away my car it would make these rainy days much better when I have to go out.

  • Di

    My list so far:
    Everything done by 1st of December
    Have plenty of time to enjoy time with kids/family in December
    Bake plenty of cookies
    Send Christmas cards
    Have a family photo taken
    Make Christmas decorations with my kids
    Listen to Christmas songs
    Drink hot chocolate
    Watch Christmas movies
    Tell my kids about what Christmas is about
    Keep spending under control
    Perhaps give some homemade Christmas gifts

    And for my Christmas gift: LP record player

    /di

  • […] up will be the holidays and I have joined  the ALL DONE BY DECEMBER ONE challenge at Happy Simple Living to have a stress free Christmas this year. Share […]

  • eliza_cross

    Thanks for sharing your list, Annie. The $10 gift cards are so creative! I love your other ideas, too. xo

    P.S. I just posted my list here:
    http://www.happysimpleliving.com/my-christmas-wish-list/

  • I’ve started by making a list of our current traditions that I will discuss with my family to see what we think works and what we might want to drop or change.

    I’ve also made a list of what hasn’t worked in the past (and why) and new things we might like to try. Among these are volunteering in some capacity, buying $100 worth of $10 gasoline cards and handing them out randomly, paying all or part of someone’s December heating bill, going ice skating, taking a carriage ride in our city, or doing something else we’d like to do but generally avoid because of the Christmas crowds.

    Finally, I made the list of a few things I’d like to receive as gifts. They are a grain mill for baking, a dress form for sewing, and/or a modest amount of money or gift cards to spend just on myself however I like.

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