One of my favorite parts of the holidays is taking time to spend with loved ones. Sure I love the food, drinks, and gift giving, but for me the core of it is really about connecting with others and being as present as possible. We shouldn’t need an excuse to get together with those we love, but the holidays sure are a great call to action.
The most impactful way for me to celebrate is to be in the present moment as much as possible. With technology constantly at our fingertips, this can become more and more difficult, but here are some ways to slow down and celebrate this holiday season.
- SEE more. Pay attention to the details around you and really appreciate them. One thing that has become second nature to me as a visual artist is to really look at details -- the light, shapes, colors, textures -- and to notice beauty in front of me. While we’ll all be in different surroundings this holiday season, there is something beautiful to notice everywhere. The art of seeing helps slow us down and stay present.
- LISTEN more. Listen to music that brings you joy. Listen to stories of others with an open mind and compassion. Listen to your children’s excitement and share in joy with them.
- Love On Your Pets. If you’re home for the holidays, give your pets some extra playtime or attention. They’re there for you all year and always deserve love. I find that spending extra time with my fur babies helps me really feel cozy and get into the holiday spirit.
- Be Grateful for Your Loved Ones. Being thankful for the people and animals in our lives is a great way to be present during the holidays. Even if our loved ones can get on our nerves sometimes, it’s always good to celebrate the relationships you have and not take them for granted.
- Take Photos, but Not Always. Sometimes we need to put the phone/camera down. As a visual artist, I constantly see in still frames. Many of us want to grab our phone and snap a photo during every highlight, and I completely understand that desire. While I think this is an incredible tool, there’s something really special about being present and limiting our documentation and posting time. Consider making an effort to celebrate by being putting the camera down for some time so you can enjoy the special moments in your holiday.
- Take time to reflect and set goals. At the end of every year, I like to take time to “debrief” from the year before as I look to the New Year. I write down notes about what worked well in my life, relationships, career, creativity, etc. and what could use improvement or shifting in the coming year. I set goals for myself for my relationships, for my personal growth, and for myself as an artist and professional. This process provides clarity and is such a positive way to celebrate the unique moments in my life.
- “Note to Self” When it’s time to pack up my holiday decorations, I’ve started the tradition of writing myself a note for the following year. I include comments on how I am feeling/doing now and what I hope will be my state when I read the note a year later when I unpack it from the holiday boxes. It’s a special way to celebrate the end of the year and a fun “surprise” for myself in the next.