Vicki McLeod.

Untrending: Planning to enjoy an un-Christmas

‘I find the festive season kind of magical’

Hello, December. It’s the festive season and that its time to shop, wrap, decorate, feast and frolic.

For some, it is a time of wholehearted joy and celebration.

For others, it is a sensitive time, particularly for those dealing with loss or struggling with health or financial issues.

For all of us, it is a time we can reach out and connect with family, friends, clients and customers.

The digital age offers us many ways to make contact during the season. As you reach out, either online or offline, think about how to be mindfully merry. Consider those who may be having a tough time and how your messages or posts might resonate with them.

If you are posting a series of cheery and upbeat holiday posts, think about sending a private message to friends or family members who may find the holidays a challenge. It is easy to feel like a Grinch if you are someone who doesn’t find the holiday hubbub particularly jolly. Validation from loved ones can go a long way to help navigate what, for some, can be a painful time. A personal email, old-school card or note, or a telephone call can bring a little joy those who struggle at this time of year.

Personally, I find the festive season kind of magical. I truly enjoy the spirit of togetherness, simple traditions, and planning special treats for those I love.

At the same time, it can be stressful. It’s easy to go overboard and get overwhelmed by details and high expectations.

For my family, it is also a tender time of remembrance – for those who can no longer celebrate with us.

This year, my hubby and I plan to enjoy an un-Christmas. We’ll be on holiday in the Arizona desert, where we will plug in a tiny plastic tree, exchange stockings, and probably eat something yummy. Our list includes long walks, long talks, and some breathing space.

The past year has been a stressful one for us. I completed a university program and fulfilled a book contract, hubby has navigated increasingly complex client contracts, and we are saying farewell to our forever-home. I plan to spend some time catching up online with the friends and colleagues I’ve neglected in recent busy months. Hubby and I are craving simplicity and rest.

The greatest gift we can give each other is time to relax and regroup. It isn’t always easy to pull ourselves away from the traditions of family and friends. There can be a sense of missing out on the parties and pastimes.

In the coaching world, there is a framework we use called the yes/no model. Basically, it means that when you say no to one thing you are saying yes to something else. By saying no to full-on festivities with all the frills, we are saying yes to time to recharge and reconnect.

Whatever kind of holiday season you choose, choose wisely. Take time to focus on what really matters to you and your family. Say yes to what nourishes you and supports others.

May the joy of the season find you. Pass it on.

Vicki McLeod is an author, TEDx speaker, and award-winning entrepreneur. She is a business and personal coach and consultant. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or find her at vickimcleod.com.

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