Last month my husband and I started a new tradition. We decided to make every day a holiday.
This year we decided to have a Thanksgiving Month instead of a Thanksgiving Day. So throughout the month of November we enjoyed eggnog, pumpkin pie, and turkey feasts. We played Christmas music, watched movies, and played games. At each event we wished each other a “Happy Thanksgiving” and celebrated as though it was the actual holiday. We also had several creative days of making homemade decorations, decorating the house, baking, and sharing our goodies with friends and family.
We celebrated each day as if it was the actual holiday. We expressed our gratitude for each other and for the blessings in our life. By making every day a holiday, the month of November was full of peace and joy.
As life would have it, our original plans got thwarted and we were unable to visit my family for Thanksgiving. But because we were flexible and had celebrated throughout the month, our holiday wasn’t ruined when we were unable to attend the traditional Thanksgiving celebration. Even though our original plans had gotten changed at the last moment we didn’t feel like we were missing out because we had been enjoying the spirit of the holiday every day.
So on the official Thanksgiving Day we slept in, relaxed, and enjoyed a non-traditional Thanksgiving feast while enjoying each other’s company. We had already celebrated Thanksgiving many times over so we were already filled with peace, joy, and gratitude for each other and our bountiful blessings. We had just celebrated 28 days of thanksgiving and we both agreed this ended up being one of our favorite Thanksgiving holiday experiences.
Holidays often become stressful because all of our attention and expectations are placed on a single day. We focus all of our energy, dreams, creativity, effort, and expectations into making that one-day just perfect. In the process we burn ourselves out and drive ourselves to exhaustion. In the end we’re too tired to really enjoy all the work and effort we’ve put into it. We’re further disappointed and hurt when others don’t appreciate our hard work, and reality doesn’t even come close to looking like our imagined expectations.
Here are some tips I’ve learned to make the holidays peaceful, joyful, and full of positive memories.
- Focus on the spirit of the holiday. Having a clear intention of what you want to feel, do, and experience during the holiday season will help you to manifest the experience you desire. Staying focused on the spirit of the holiday will help you to create a holiday that is meaningful to you, without worrying about meeting commercial or cultural expectations of how the holiday should be experienced.
- Identify what the holiday means to you and keep that feeling in everything you do. For me the winter holidays mean joy, gratitude, and peace. Focusing on those feelings while I’m running errands and doing daily tasks keep the holiday spirit alive in my heart. Focusing on my desired feelings also helps prevent anxiety, frustration, and irritation at the increasing holiday crowds and traffic.
- Identify what is most important to you about the holiday and incorporate that in your daily activities and as often as you can. Some of my winter holiday favorites include Christmas music, playing games, eggnog, pumpkin pie, frosting cookies, and making decorations. Household tasks like doing the laundry and washing the dishes can become holiday activities when you’re singing Christmas songs and focusing on what you’re grateful for.
- Be flexible with your plans. The holidays can get filled with activities and commitments. Being flexible and flowing with the moment will help you to get the most out of your holiday. It will also keep you open to spontaneous joy and adventures you weren’t planning on. Being flexible will keep an element of surprise and magic in your holiday adventures and prevent the disappointment of rigid expectations.
- Celebrate the simple everyday moments. Feel grateful for a good night sleep. Celebrate the warm sunshine on your face. Enjoy the conversation of friends, family and people that you meet. The gifts of the season don’t just come in packages with bows, they’re everywhere if we just take the time to see them and enjoy them.
We’re going to continue our new tradition of making every day a holiday. Making each new day a cause for celebration creates adventures and magical moments we wouldn’t have experienced otherwise.
I can’t wait to see what December will bring!
By Carolyn Almendarez
Carolyn Flynn Almendarez holds a Master’s degree in Counseling with additional studies in Nutrition and Holistic Health. She provides a unique blend of mind-body solutions to create health, happiness, and loving relationships. She is a strategist, problem-solver, and intuitive guide. She believes every woman deserves to feel beautiful, serene, and happy. She is committed to helping women create lives they love. She is the author of SMART Talk, Heal Your Grief, and Holiday Peace and Joy.
How will you celebrate today? Share in the comments below how you will make your every day a holiday.
Researchers have discovered that daily expression of gratitude can be as effective for elevating mood as a daily dose of an anti-depressant. How can this be you may ask? Well the secret lies in that thoughts are more than just thoughts.
Thoughts are bio-chemical messages sent from your brain to your body. When you express a positive thought, such as gratitude, you are sending positive bio-chemical messages surging through your body and brain, which in turn affects how you feel. The reverse is also true. When you have a negative thought, such as anger, sadness, guilt, or regret, thousands of negative bio-chemical messages start surging through your body, easily triggering a snowball effect of more negative thoughts and feelings, increasing fear, depression, and anxiety.
Now I’m not suggesting you stop your anti-depressant if your doctor has prescribed one for you. But I am suggesting that you have the power to turn your negative emotions and feelings to positive ones by daily focusing on the positive and what you are grateful for. If you are on prescription medications, this daily gratitude practice can enhance your feelings of well-being, and under the guidance and approval of your doctor may allow you to reduce your medication dosage.
Regular practice of positive thinking can create a cascade of positive emotions, thoughts, feelings, and actions in your life. Your daily expressions of gratitude whether written in your journal or verbally expressed will trigger feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain and send feel good bio-chemical messages and feelings throughout your body.
This month I challenge you to naturally elevate your feel good feelings with a 30-Day Gratitude Challenge. Each day express at least one thing that you are grateful for that was different then the prior days. Boost the challenge benefits by expressing as many things that you are grateful for including at least one unique item each day that you haven’t mention before.
Below is my list of 30 things I am grateful for to get you started in this mood-boosting challenge: Read the rest of this entry »