Wow, 2021 is almost over.
The bad news is time is whizzing by and pulling us involuntarily along with it. The good news is: we have another festive season at hand!
There is so much to love about this time of year—the soothing carols, the enchanting lights, the increase in positivity and warmness, the delectable treats that are permitted seemingly only this time of year… So many things to appreciate.
2021, like the year before it, has been challenging for many. The world has still not returned to the normal that we knew in the good ol’ days of 2019. Many stressors and uncertainties continue to hang over and around us…
And this is why we must make the most of the coming festive season. We all deserve a good break, and there’s no time like the holidays to enjoy that well-earned respite.
It’s not always an easy thing to do, so we thought a short guide might help.
Not sure how to double the rewards of this celebratory time of year? Below, we bring you 5 ways to do so!
1. Make time for yourself
This should be straightforward, and yet, it is sometimes tough to achieve. The holidays should be a time when we take a break from our busy, challenging year to celebrate ourselves. We’ve made it through most of the year, and there is always so much to reflect on. Now is the time to do it. This means we must put ourselves first and say no to things that distract us. These may be habits, work, and yes, even other people. We love our relatives and friends, but sometimes, we just want to stay in and enjoy a steaming cup of hot chocolate, snuggled in blankets and reminiscing between episodes of our favorite show. Alone. And there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, we encourage it. There is a place and time for celebrations over turkey and cake, and there is another for solitary relaxation. Find that place. Find that time.
2. Don’t overthink gift-giving
Necessary caveat: if you are one of those lucky ones who actually enjoy frequenting the shops and picking out incredible gifts based on little phrases flung in passing throughout the year, then by all means, please do you! This is about you doing what you love during this time of year, so if your knack for gift giving puts Santa to shame and you like to show this off, then go for it, full steam ahead!
This point is more for those among us who do not care for this at all, and yet who feel pushed by the norms to be something we are not. If you relate to this, well, here is something you need to know: you never needed to do this! If you do not like thinking too much about gifts, then don’t. It’s why gift cards exist. And if you are the creative type, you could even substitute this for lovely words or art. Sometimes, simple really is better. And so is personal.
In sum, if the idea of intricate gift-giving gives you anxiety, remove that anxiety. Keep your gifts simple. We promise you, those who matter won’t mind.
3. Rekindle lost connections
There is nothing as heartwarming as a surprise call from someone with whom you were once connected and close. The festive season is a time for reunion and reconnection. We always mean to keep in touch with people who meant a lot to us at one point or another in our lives – high school buddies, former work colleagues, far away relatives, the kindred spirit we met by chance and with whom we promised to catch up every now and then… Yes, we really did plan to call six months ago, but life has a way of getting in the way. We get it. We’ve all been there.
But if there is any time to rekindle that connection, it is during the holidays. The truth is many feel loneliest during this time of year. You never know what someone might be going through, and just how much of a difference that ringtone sounding off—your name on the screen—will make. And so, even if it’s been years and you worry that they won’t pick up, do it. Pick up the phone – and call.
4. Practice gratitude
It is very easy to forget the wonderful gifts life has offered us, especially amid the sea of chaos that surrounds us on the daily. But there is no better time than the holidays to sit back and make an effort to remember and record these gifts. There is so much to be grateful for: the snowflakes falling, the bells ringing, the future filled with endless possibilities…
So why not write them down. It doesn’t have to be anything grand. But practicing gratitude has been shown to improve mood, and what better time to be in a perfect mood than the holidays.
You could also consider volunteering in your community. It’s a great way to show gratitude for what you have by supporting those who have been less fortunate. You get to meet new people too, and in a period rife with festivities and connection, what’s not to love about that?
5. Do something you’ve always wanted to
The holidays are all about memories. The old ones you reflect on, and the new ones you make. And so, we invite you to take it a step further than the usual memorable nights of celebration with family and friends. Those should still happen of course, but has there been something you’ve been itching to do all year – maybe the past few years – like a decade even? Well, there is no better time than now to do it. All we have is now, goes the saying. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Maybe it’s that light show you’ve always wanted to attend; maybe it’s going sledding down the street like you’re five again, maybe it’s tackling that heaven-sent recipe even though you don’t trust your cooking skills and don’t want the embarrassment. What it is doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you are making memories, and memories you know you will cherish for a long time. You only live once. What have you got to lose?
We hope one or more of these five points appeal to you, and that they help you in making this holiday season truly your own, whatever that looks like for you.
On behalf of all the staff at ONFE, we would like to wish you a wonderful festive season. We will forever be grateful for your support.