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‘Tis the season to feel cuckoo, right?  I don’t know about you, but it is in this time of year that life can feel a bit crazy and totally overwhelming.  In the past, I haven’t always felt like I am my best-self around the holidays and this year I am on a mission to change that!  So many things seem to want to flood the to-do list and find their place on our calendars and we really have a tendency to burn the candle at both ends in December.

Holiday parties.
Cards to write and send.
School programs.
Gifts to gather, wrap, mail, etc.
Dinners to make.
The list can go on and on if we let it, but this year….I’m changing the story and I am giving you permission to do the same.

When I started to consider this topic, my first step was to sit down and truly decide what I wanted to FEEL this holiday season.

In our house, this time of year is not only holiday season but the kick-off of basketball season for our two kiddos. It is our very favorite thing!

I refuse to let the hustle and bustle of it all overshadow what is important to me.

So, after some thought,  I decided I wanted to feel PRESENT most.

When I am with my family, I want to be fully WITH them, not fretting over who I am disappointing or which task I am not completing.

I am giving myself permission to slow down and just BE. 

In an effort to stay PRESENT this season, I came up with my top 5 ideas to be my “best-self” for ME and my family.  I am sure they will resonate for all of you busy gals out there and I hope you truly take a minute to do this exercise for yourself.

1. REMEMBER THE REASON FOR THE SEASON
Christmas, for me, is about the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  It is one of my favorite times of year in my spiritual life.

I like to ponder what the anticipation was like way back when and how everything would change with this one beautiful child.  What an amazing blessing! 

It’s not about shopping, gifts, or running this way or that, even though I can get caught up in that too.
It’s about pondering, anticipating and being grateful.
When I think of it that way, I can take a deep breath and remind myself what truly matters.

2. JUST SAY NO
There are only so many hours in the day!

With all of the holiday invites rolling in and the pull of this and that, I have given myself permission to just say NO to most things this time of year.

I am not taking on any additional responsibilities. I’m letting go of getting any additional big projects done as well.

I have so many pending projects right now, but I literally just need to let them set. They are not going anywhere.

Look at your to-do lists and invites, what really matters? 

Which things are for those people that matter most in your life?  Do those and let the rest go.

There is no reason to spread yourself so thin just to keep everyone happy this time of year.
Folks that have always cared about you know your heart and will completely understand.  Those that get bent out of shape because you didn’t meet their expectations probably don’t matter anyway.

3. MAINTAIN YOUR SELF-CARE HABITS
This time of year it can be easy to put self-care on the back burner, but I’m telling you, it is more critical than ever to continue to take GREAT care of yourself.

Take time for YOU each day.

Get a short workout in, feed yourself healthy food, drink TONS of water, and for goodness sake, get your sleep.

You are of no use to anyone if your health is falling apart and I promise, you will not enjoy this season if you are fatigued, achey and angry.

You deserve to feel good always! This time of year is no exception.

Again, look at how you are spending your time and make yourself a priority.  That is the gift that will keep on giving!

4. GIVE GIFTS THAT KEEP ON GIVING
One of the greatest things we have done as a family  is made a commitment to traveling or having experiences versus buying a lot of things.

If you are struggling on giving gifts this year, look to give experiences instead of things.  The memories that come from these types of gifts will be treasured for years to come.

Stumped on what experiences to give?

Look up things to do in your local area and give a gift card for that.  Rather than giving another toy to your favorite kiddo, give something that takes time to build, or a subscription to a great magazine that they would love to enjoy throughout the year.

I don’t know about you, but my kids have enough stuff, so the types of things that can keep giving throughout the year, plus teach them something, are awesome in my book!

5. FIND A WAY TO SERVE OTHERS
Seems a bit like I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here, doesn’t it?  On one hand, I’m telling you to let your calendar be open on the other, I’m saying add the goal of serving others to your list, right?

Well, let me explain. 

There are hundreds of opportunities to serve others each day, without spending an extra second or an extra dime.  So many of us can find ourselves sprinting through our day, head down, keeping to ourselves.

This season, I encourage you to pick your head up.

Engage with the world!

• Smile at those you meet on the street.
• Say “HI” to that mom with a cart full of kiddos at the store.
• Hold the door for someone!
• Pick up a piece of trash that you see on the ground so that someone else doesn’t have to.
• Stack your shopping cart nicely in the rack. (This is a big one for our son.)
• Send an encouraging text or better yet, call the person and tell them exactly what they mean to you.
• Hug your kids and tell them you love them.
• Bring a cup of coffee to your spouse.
• Thank your parents for all they have done.
• Listen to the stories of our older generation when they share.  They have so much to teach us!

Honestly, the list goes on and on!

The more we make this life about bringing joy to the world the more joyful we will be in return.  (I feel better even writing that list out as it is all things that I know I can easily do and I know you can too!)

YOU DESERVE IT
To all of you that are reading this, you deserve all of the above for yourself, plus whatever awesome ideas you come up with.

You work so hard each and every day to live your best life and I don’t want December to suck you up and spit you out.

It was never intended to be that.

It is the season of light, love and fresh starts and I want you to embrace it.

I haven’t always been the best at this, but I am getting better and I am more and more forgiving of myself each year.

For those that need permission, this is it.
For those of you already doing this, cheers!
May you have the best holiday season yet!

With Gratitude,
Nicky