“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, as the famous Christmas song goes. But for many of us it is also the most stressful time of the year. If you are still busy making final arrangements for the Christmas dinner, still doing your last Christmas shopping, or dealing with some last-minute change of plans, then you probably are feeling the stress this holiday season often brings.

Don’t get me wrong, I love this time of the year. I love how it brings families closer and how we get to spend quality time with thepeople that matter most to us. However, oftentimes in attempts to organize theperfect dinner, to get the right gifts, and to satisfy everyone, and not to mention the financial impact of it, the real meaning of this holiday does tend to get sidelined.

I am not a fan of shopping, personally it makes me too stressed. And these days all the shops, social media and others are bombarding us with fancy decorations, perfect pictures of styled outfits, and dinner parties, not to mention the increasingly popular ‘gift guides’. It all feels like too much sometimes. The pressure is on, and the action behind most of those campaigns is “buy, buy,buy”… I can’t help but feel that oftentimes the focus of this holiday is clouded by consumerism, giving gifts and receiving gifts. But what does Christmas truly mean to you? In the movies it is often portraited as that time of year that we want to spend with our loved ones. It is about giving and receiving love, about appreciation of one another and gratefulness towards the people we have in our lives. As another popular song goes “All I want for Christmas is you…” describing this spirit of thought.

What am I trying to say with all this?

I hope that I have managed to strike a chore with you on this holiday. Nothing that I have said you don’t already know, of course you know all that, but sometimes in the midst of the shopping craziness and busyness of the pre-Christmas weeks, it gets forgotten. So, I am here to remind you of what you already know.

Bringing a form of mindfulness can help us slow down and assess our actions better. Are you getting some gifts just because you have to? Are you maybe considering giving experiences instead of material gifts? How about giving the gift of your time? Do you think the person who receives this kind of gift will appreciate it? Why would that be so? If you find yourself caught up in the marketing side of the holiday where it seems that we need to get so many things in order to have a decent celebration, try to go on some sort of media detox. If a social media is giving you a negative emotion, go off it for a few days, if the shops make you stressed out, consider ordering your gifts online and just allow yourself to take a break.

If you have small children in your life (your own or in your family or friends), make sure you spend time with them during this time. There is nothing more magical than seeing Christmas through a small child’s eye. And let me tell you, it is not about the gifts, or the perfect decoration. It is all about the spirit we bring in our homes and the quality time, laughter and play we experience together. 

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