Woooo. Welcome. to. December! Can you believe we’re actually….. here?? It’s a little mind blowing after such a spinny, wacky, LONG year, but I am so, so grateful.
Not just for the end of 2020 being here (… hi, all of us). But also for the messes and challenges and beautiful awakenings and change that this year has brought.
Something about walking through hard years makes the good ones all the better. It gives us the opportunity to reflect on our priorities. To be stretched in new ways. To open our minds a little more and find new chances to practice resiliency and presence.
So…. was this year hard?? YES. Full stop.
Was it also needed?…. I also think: yes.
That’s not to erase the pain that this year has brought. But to say: whatever we’ve gone through– collectively & individually this year– we made it. We walked through the fire and it wasn’t always pretty, but it wasn’t all bad, either.
I bet if I challenged you to think of a list of beautiful, special, sacred moments from this year, you could come up with dozens.
They’re probably small things… the sunshine on your walks, a text from an old friend, the sound of your favorite song coming on your Spotify shuffle…. but it’s the small things that are the big things, this year especially. They add up.
So yes– as we walk into the holiday season, so many of us are reeeeadddy for a reset. A new beginning. I can feel it, & I bet you can, too. Yet, I don’t think rushing through this last month and waving goodbye to 2020 is the way to go about it.
What if we took right now– TODAY– to reset? To do little things to make the last days of 2020 more intentional and to treasure them.
I’m in….. are you?
So here are 6 ways that I’m planning on making the holidays feel special this year, because after all– they’re a reminder of the important things: those we love, time spent unplugged, cherishing the moment & soaking up the end of a (crazy) year.
01. Creating new rituals at home.
New doesn’t mean bad. It just means new.
And for a time of year when expectations can be heavy and loud, and tradition seems to be the name of the game….. I’m leaning into swerving this year and embracing new-ness, TBH. Like, just because we usually do things one way and spend the holidays with these people, doesn’t mean it needs to go down that way this year. And that’s okay.
Spend your energy instead on creating NEW rituals to love and maybe even bring into next year’s festivities, like….
- baking something festive with loved ones, like the gluten-free pumpkin spice doughnuts or olive oil chocolate chip cookies (YUM)
- lighting ALL the (hopefully natural, non-toxic) candles every night as a ritual, and turning down the lights (I love these paraffin unscented tea lights)
- taking a hike/family bike ride/neighborhood walk to look at all the lights. Maybe with the healthy hot chocolate in hand?
- finding a local charity or organization to donate to or volunteer at
- dropping a home-cooked meal off at a family that could use a little love, or your local church, fire station or food pantry. See the best meals to make for friends here, or any of the soup recipes in either cookbooks (book 1 here, which is 40% off this month!! and book 2 here, also on sale) with a salad and bread/crackers.
- spending an evening creating a few different holiday playlists on Spotify, so you can always create the right ambiance. One of my favs lately has been “indie christmas chill” and one of my own playlists called old school Christmas 🙂
- cozying up with blankets and warm layers and enjoying a meal or happy hour or a bonfire outside.
- downloaded a star gazing app and bundling up for some outside star-gazing.
- transforming a room in your home into a little yoga studio with candles + spa music and doing an at-home yoga session with your partner, family or roomies
- decorating your Christmas tree/fireplace mantle/dining room table/bedroom with cozy holiday decor
- sleeping under the tree/menorah/a living room slumber party
- picking one thing a day through the end of the year to focus your gratitude on: write down what your “thing” is every day and why you’re thankful for it
02. Focusing on making memories with your close peeps.
Sometimes it seems like the magic of the holidays can get a little lost during “normal” years between the hustle and bustle of shopping, planning, traveling, wrapping up work things, spreading time between different family members/groups, attending holiday parties…. and on and on.
Nov/Dec are BUSY months usually, but in a year like 2020, I’m counting it as a gift that we’re almost being forced to slow down and do less.
And I think it’s a powerful way to show up with our little ones even more during this sacred, special time of year. There are so many small things we can do that = BIG, exciting, special memories for our babes.
Things like…. making hot cocoa together (see my healthy date hot chocolate recipe here) on a chilly afternoon, doing holiday crafts or baking projects together (might I suggest the Super Addicting Jam Dots?) talking about what we’re grateful for this year, reading books by the fire before bedtime, taking family walks, spending extra time chatting about the day or our hopes and dreams before bed.
This time of year, I always remember how much those little things were the big things in my own childhood– the ones that stick out in my memory like happy little gems and help me remember that kids don’t need more STUFF and PLANS and PRESENTS to fill their holidays. They just need us. Our attention and presence is everything to them.
03. Planning thoughtful meals.
The thing I always come back to with holiday meals is the intention more than the tradition.
So you’re having a simplified holiday gathering with just a few people, or maybe just one other person? That’s okay– all bets are off this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sit around the table (spread out, of course) and enjoy a lovely meal made from the heart.
Food has the power to bring us together, to heal hurts and to infuse joy into any situation.
I have an entire healthy holiday recipe guide if you’re needing dish inspiration this year. From a full Christmas spread to other classic and healthier holiday dishes you’ll love, it has recipes to pick and choose from to complete your holiday table with ease and zero stress in the kitchen (always a win). Find it right here!
04. Spending more time outside.
Pacific Northwesterners know…. getting outside in the winter months can be a handful. BUT, it can also be so, so worth it for some fresh air, change of scenery and a perspective shift.
Whether you’re in the PNW, the Midwest, a city or a desert…. try to find time to get outside this holiday season, even if you have to drive 30 minutes away and bundle up in four layers and snow/rain boots.
I know for us, taking daily walks (in rain boots/rain coats usually) and spending time just sitting on the patio and soaking up as much of the outdoors as we can with what limited sunlight there is these days can be one of the most restorative things.
And when the world is messy and things are unpredictable…. we could all use some more restorative, right?
05. Taking a social media detox.
One thing I’m planning on and soooo looking forward to this holiday season is planned time AWAY from my phone and social media apps. Just tucking my phone in a drawer for a day or two and being more in the moment.
You guys know I love and adore this supportive little sweet community, AND at the same time, I find that intentionally taking time away from insta and email and everything else can be so, so healing and restful. And great for mental health to take some time to get back in tune with yourself and what you need to feel best.
I can’t wait for a little more time off my phone and using that time to be more mindful– to journal, read and soak up time with my fam during the holidays. Anyone want to join me?
06. Gifting with intention.
Finally, gift giving with intention. It’s so important, and this year especially I’m focusing on supporting small businesses. Last week we shared the annual SRH holiday gift guide with lots of ideas for how to give thoughtful gifts that celebrate and lift up businesses that are doing it right.
More than that, I always feel like the THOUGHT that goes into gifts supersedes the gift itself. Sometimes the loveliest way to gift your people is with a thoughtful note, an experiential gift, a small trinket that made you think of them or even just quality time together (yup, Zoom/FaceTime count!).
Find small ways to give with love this season rather than feeling pressure to go above and beyond to knock it out of the park with everryyyone on your list…. I promise it’ll feel a lot better (and lighter).