Creating Intentional Holidays Part I: We Can Choose

This is the first of a two-part post in which I invite you to give some thought to how you want to spend your holidays this year, and what deliberate choices you could consider now, to make it happen.

The Gift

The Gift (acrylics, 9 1/2" x 12" on mat board)

Often we go into the holidays with predetermined activities, meals and traditions in tow, whether they still fit who we've become or not. Some of these make our holidays, while others may leave us feeling less than merry.

Thankfully, we can choose how we spend our holidays.

I can hear some of you saying "Nope! [Insert family relation here] would have a fit if we didn't have dinner at their place!", to which I respond: you can still choose.

Some of us may choose to put our own needs aside to avoid conflict and keep the familial peace, because that's our priority right now. Others may choose to veer from the norm, because circumstances or needs (financial, physical, spiritual...) call for it this year. We may choose the status quo because it fulfills us perfectly as is, or, we may choose to just let it all unfold and go with the flow.

Either way, all are deliberate choices.


Just so I'm clear, I don't pretend that all of this blissful choosing is easy.

Choosing deliberately takes courage, especially when you're going against the current. It may ruffle feathers or create a stir. Choosing to go along with the current when it's not your preference also takes courage, in the form of acceptance and letting go.

The good news is, once you become aware of a gap, if there is one, you may be able to integrate a few minor changes or coping practices to make it easier.


This is important to remember: Just because you feel a need for something this year doesn't mean you'll be in the same headspace come November next year.

Takes some of the pressure off, doesn't it?

Maybe 2012 was a tough one, and you would prefer a quick visit to Grandma's instead of the requisite overnight stay. Or, maybe your energy levels are through the roof this year, and you feel like opening up your home to the entire clan!

Choosing something different this year doesn't mean you can't go back.


However you choose to spend the holidays, giving a bit of thought to them ahead of time allows you to go in with eyes - and heart - wide open.

Spend time thinking about what's important to you and your family, envision your ideal holidays, and see what you could do to achieve them. If ideal isn't achievable, there may be small tweaks you can make to bring you closer to where you want to be given the circumstances.

Set the intention, do what you can, then, because there will always be things that are out of your control, let it go.

That third part may actually be the hardest, but it'll make it more fun for everyone involved - including you.


In Part II, I will offer a series of prompts to help you bring your preferences for this year's holidays to light, so you can create your holidays from an intentional space instead of a solely reactive one. Stay tuned...