5 tips for making beautiful memories this holiday season
It’s easy during the holidays to get distracted by long lists of to-dos, financial worries and family strain. In fact, a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that, while most people report elevated feelings of happiness and love during the holiday season, more than 60% feel high levels of stress.
The problem may be that people stretch themselves (and their budgets) thin. It may also be that they forget what’s important this time of year: spending time with family and making special memories that will last longer than any gift.
Do you need help finding peace and happiness in the midst of your holiday festivities? Here are five tips for recognizing the memory-making moments that will remind you of the reason for the season.
Balance family and festivities
The temptation to jump between activities during the holidays is powerful. With so many family gatherings, school programs, work parties, friend get-togethers, and community activities to choose from, you may feel pressured to overschedule yourself, leading to stress and a lack of time for getting everything done.
Take a break by putting downtime into your schedule, so you can reconnect with family and unwind — and don’t be afraid to decline invitations that interfere. When you are well rested, you’ll enjoy the few events you focus on and are more likely to remember them later, instead of recalling only the strain of rushing from one thing to the next.
It may be tempting to kick back during the holidays to watch TV and eat, but that can leave you feeling lethargic and guilt-ridden. Instead, go outside to boost your energy levels and take advantage of another opportunity for memory-making.
Outdoor activities might include going for a family walk or bike ride; taking a hike; going skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing; playing an outdoor game; or doing anything that gets the blood pumping.
Focus on traditions
Holiday traditions are a major part of childhood memories for most people.
“Holiday traditions become an essential aspect of how we celebrate, and there is a reason why we keep them as a part of our lives for so long,” psychologist Michele Brennan writes for Psych Central. “Simply put, we hold onto holiday traditions because they add meaning to our celebrations and help bond us to those we love.”
If you don’t have established traditions in your family, start a new one this year.
Be intentional about memory-making
Big moments may be planned, but don’t forget to focus on little spontaneous moments, as well. Slow down, put away your phone, and pay attention to your family to make even more memories.
Baking cookies together, caroling, helping at a homeless shelter, reading a Christmas story, or attending a church service are all activities that could help you be intentional about memory-making.
Feed your soul
One way to reduce stress during the holidays is to remind yourself of the reason for the season. While shopping, outdoor activities, and visits with Santa can be fun, feeding your soul by attending a church service can help you focus on what’s important.
Christ’s Church of the Valley offers services that bring families and communities together for an unforgettable experience, retelling the story of the first Christmas. Services are scheduled throughout the week leading up to Christmas, so you can choose what works for your family. Visit ccv.church to check service times and when special needs accommodations and sign language interpreters are available.