The holidays can be both a joyful and chaotic time of year. Families get together—a lovely experience, but when we’re hosting relatives and coordinating gift exchanges, a sense of obligation can crowd out some of our jollier feelings. There’s often so much doing that we don’t make time for being together.
Here are a few simple ways you can mindfully plan your holidays and spread feelings of kindness and compassion liberally this season:
Have A Mindful Potluck
Cutting down on cooking is not a cop out. Extending the invitation to family and friends to bring their favorite recipes into your home is a great conversation starter—we all have a few recipes passed down to us from our grandparents. Potlucks also cut down on worries you might have about guests not enjoying the food. You can extend your generosity a bit further by coordinating your potluck with the fundraising efforts of local food organizations.
Dodge The Dogfights
Getting together with relatives can be a real joy, but it can also create many challenges. There are lots of unspoken expectations about the holidays. And sometimes when we visit relatives, we feel like we’re a teenager again and not an adult. And the personalities! Maybe a tipsy relative is bellowing about how climate change is a bunch of BS. Don’t go there. Deflect conflict. It’s not the time or place. Stick to topics all can agree on. Cute baby, right?
Have A Gift-Light Holiday
For some of us, giving gifts is as essential as the star on the top of the tree. But the stress of looking for the right “thing” can eclipse actually seeing and talking to the people we’re buying for. Happiness can’t be wrapped up in a bow. Instead of obsessing over what to get someone, consider that the perfect gift might be your presence. You can also give a gift as a family: do some volunteer work together, or take some time at the year’s end to send donations to organizations you care about.