Blogversation 2012: What would your perfect holiday season look like?

Throughout this year, several bloggers will engage in a conversation here and on their blogs — asking questions of each other and responding. Others are absolutely welcome to join the conversation, as well. Learn more about the ladies of Blogversation 2012.

Today’s question comes from Eleanor Traubman, Creative Times, @creativetimes on Twitter:

If you could wave a magic wand and create the perfect holiday season for yourself, what would it look like?  How would you spend your time? Where would you put your attention and energy?
When January comes along, I look at people around me and notice that a lot of folks look spent – emotionally, physically, fiscally.   Seems like it can be traced back to the day after Halloween (used to be Thanksgiving) when the seasonal aisles at Rite Aid are loaded up with Christmas stuff – candy, cards, decorations, you name it.  The holiday music starts getting piped in through the radio and the gift-giving ads start popping up on the television.
No doubt, there are some lovely things about the holiday season.  It can be a time to spend with people, go to fun parties, enjoy pretty decorations, light the menorah, see the tree at Rockefeller Center, and eat yummy food.  But it also seems like this big tumble weed that runs roughshod over folks and kind of zaps us of our ability to stand strong and decide what really makes sense for us outside of pressures to buy this gift, go to that 14th party, travel at the most stressful time to travel, or eat or drink that thing that in the end doesn’t really make us feel all that great.
So I’m thinking it would be interesting to set up some intentions for ourselves as we enter this season so we have a better shot at setting our lives up so they truly nurture us and set us up to start the New Year feeling refreshed and energized.
What do you want this coming holiday season to look like for you and your family or loved ones?  Where do you want to put your focus and energies?  What would make it possible to enter 2013 on good footing with your mind, heart, spirit, and bank account in tact?

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Categories: home and family, lifestyle

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5 replies

  1. My family has embraced the “no stress” holiday season for a long time. I was living abroad for 3 years, my sister lives out west and works in a hospital so has her share of holiday shifts – so our family has not had the traditional stressful holiday season to endure. What can be stressful is trying to do everything – but that is true at any time of the year (although it’s multiplied by 100 during the holiday season). My family also haven’t had the expectation of gifts for about 15 years. There are some gifts that are given but it’s usually something that was made by hand. My mom loves to quilt so seeing a quilt under the tree is typically a given but it’s usually for a friend that’s visiting or someone new around the tree.

  2. I think so much of American holiday tradition can get so amped up with expectations that we miss the point — instead of Thanksgiving being a celebration of our blessings, it stresses people out; instead of gift giving showing our loved ones how much we care, it’s a frenzy of consumerism.

    My ideal holiday season would be taking a deep breath, remembering what matters most and focusing on that.

    For example, John and I simply don’t need more stuff. We’re so blessed that we have the first world problem of needing an offsight storage unit to hold some of our belongings. So I’d love for our friends and family to not worry about adding to our stuff. (The only material possession I really did want was an enameled Dutch oven and John just surprised me with one, so I’m thrilled.)

    Instead, I’d love to have far-away friends and family call us or write us a letter, or even better, come visit. I would love our holidays to be more about people than about things.

    Or you could donate to Hurricane Sandy recovery in my name. Or your local animal shelter. Or a program that teaches kids music. I would love if the holidays really were about a spirit of generosity. I’d love to donate to good causes for my gift shopping, too.

    Other than that, I’ve got to say, John and I have really embraced the holiday season in New York since we moved here and we have so much fun. We enjoy the festivity and the decorations and the energy, and try not to get caught up in striving for an idealized perfection. We have fun going to parties and don’t worry too much about how it “should” be.

  3. Eleanore what an interesting question, especially in a post-Sandy New York. I always have no real expectations for the Holidays and I am relieved when they’re over. If I can be frank, I’d love to visit an isolated cave to hibernate. My biggest hope, for 2012 holiday season, is that my friends and family are healthy and that I get to visit my parents in West Michigan. I’m also hoping for lots of quite time for reading, vision boarding, eating good, just being Lesley-like. That’s where my energies are — sending intention towards that vision.

    • Historically, my husband and I have travelled to California to see one or both of our families. It can be fun to go to California or Arizona at holiday time. If we see Mike’s family, it means yummy home cooked meals, really fun & whimsical gifts from his parents, evenings of playing board games while eating baked goods, and trips to see beautiful cacti. If we go to see my brother and his 3 children in San Diego, it means the thrill of seeing the young ones opening presents, going to the race track that has been turned into a holiday light show, and walking barefoot on a sandy beach.

      But traveling during this time of year is extremely stressful, so we are staying planted right here this year. I will miss seeing our families out west, but I am also looking forward to being here in New York, connecting with the quiet of winter, connecting with friends new and old, and starting some holiday traditions of our own. During the recent wild antics of Mother Nature, Mike and I have spent time in our apartment listening to music, making art, reading, and enjoying each others’ company. I would like to continue to do that this season. Finally, I would like to continue a tradition I started more than 10 years ago, which is sending an alphabetized list of highlights of the year to my friends and family. Last year, Mike designed the holiday card which accompanied the letter and that was a big hit with folks.

      I want to find fun, whimiscal, and low-cost ways of showing people that I care about them. I want to have fun that is genuine, relaxed fun and not high-pressure social engagements.

      Since we’re staying put this season, I feel confident that I can make these things happen. I’m looking forward to this experiment!

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  1. Blogversation 2012: Wrapping up a year of online conversation « Newvine Growing — exploring evolution, revolution and living life intentionally

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