5 Ways to Reclaim the Magic of the Holidays
Average read time: 2 minutes
A Story of Christmas Presence
I was hustling by the Christmas tree one late afternoon, between laundry folding and dinner making, when I stopped to turn on the lights. The day had been a typical game of me versus a task list as long as my arm: holiday stuff, work stuff, travel plans, parties, school events, chores….
I flicked the switch on the power strip, turning on the tree lights. My son James, who was playing nearby, stopped what he was doing and came to my side. We stood with our arms around each other and stared at the tree: covered in ornament-shaped memories, rich with forest fragrance, twinkling and glowing with tiny white lights. At that moment, the overflowing list of to-dos and presents faded into the background, and my heart filled with the magic of Christmas presence.
Those moments can be few and far between this time of year. We lose ourselves in the shortage of time to simply be with the season. Sometimes modern life is like that. We forget that we’re human beings and not human doings. Sometimes grown-up life is like that. We become cynical, focused on the commercial circus of the season. Under the weight of so many responsibilities, and the added complexity of health challenges, holiday spirit doesn’t simply happen to us. But we always have a choice: we can put our heads down and go through the motions or we can actively create a sacred space in our lives for holiday bliss.
“Mom,” James said, “I always feel so comforted when you turn on the lights.”
He couldn’t have put it more perfectly.
“Me too, bud. Me too.”
Whether busy, blessed or bursting at the seams, the holidays are what we make them. Think of these simple, low-maintenance ideas as our holiday ‘presence’ to you. Use them to de-stress, unwind, and fill your heart with joy.
5 Ways to Reclaim the Magic, Wonder, and Spirit of the Holidays
- Go for a Holiday Walk: This family-friendly activity doesn’t take more than a pair of traction soles and perhaps a steamy thermos of spice tea or golden milk. Is there a neighborhood in your area that has especially lovely lights (or ice-free sidewalks)? Create a healthy tradition with your loved ones while basking in the beauty of the season.
- Light a Candle: Across traditions, the darkest time of year is about creating light. The simple act of lighting a candle in your work or living space can fill your heart with its glow. A few minutes of quiet spent gazing upon the flame, can quiet the mind and soothe the soul. We recommend unscented, clean-burning soy or beeswax candles to minimize toxic fumes and indoor air pollution.
- Read a Favorite Holiday Story or Poem: Don’t feel like you have to tackle this Clark Griswold style, reading The Night Before Christmas to a house full of relatives. But curling up with a transportive book like the Polar Express, The Nutcracker, or a collection of Robert Frost poems can help you unwind, unplug, and get in the spirit.
- Burn a Yule Log: The risky medieval version of this tradition entails dragging an entire tree into the house and feeding it into the fireplace as it burns. How about trying this modern spin instead: take a piece of firewood and decorate it with snips of winter foliage collected from your yard or neighborhood. Tie it all up with holiday ribbon, and have each family member write their wishes on it for the upcoming year. Burn the log in your fireplace, outdoor fire pit, or at a holiday bonfire, as a ceremonial way of setting fresh intentions and letting go of things that no longer serve us as we approach the new year.
- Snuggle up with Your Favorite Christmas or Holiday Movie: This one’s got relaxation, togetherness, and Christmas music rolled into one. Grab your coziest blanket, put on your fuzziest slippers, and kick back with your favorite flick of the season. For me, Little Women, A Christmas Story, or Home Alone works every time.