|What do you care about and stress about when it comes to celebrating the holidays?
Whatever it is and isn’t, I hope the ideas below will validate your experiences and inspire you to make the holiday time (even) better.
These are some of the insights from the Happy Sensitive Community calls this month:
We’re not big on required gift giving as a holiday focus.
We’d much prefer to get each other something small throughout the year, or spend quality time together.
All that scrambling to get each other a big enough gift – and sometimes even having to keep track of who gave how much to whom – just complicates things.
In some families, there are so many gifts being given that you don’t even get to see each other open them, because there is no time for that.
In other families, incomes are very unequal and gifts create stressful financial pressures.
We crave 1-on-1 time
It’s important to have 1-on-1 time with people we care about and haven’t seen in a while. That’s different from having everyone together in one room all the time, being squashed together like sardines.
The good news: we can ask for it. Not by expecting people to understand our unhappiness, but simply by proposing something different.
What would you like to do instead, and how could you ask for it in a positive way that leaves the other person choice?
For example: “I’d really like to spend some time with you over the holidays. How about we do X, would you like that? We could do it before/after/while everyone is doing Z.” Ask in advance.
Alternatively, if you’re going to a big family meetup just to see one person, perhaps you could find a way to meet up with that one person separately?
On long drives, we do better when we also factor in some quiet time.
One of our community members is making a point of stopping at a national park along the drive to the family Xmas celebration.
Maybe there’s no national park along your route, but factoring in some time for yourself before or during your trip is a great way to charge up those social batteries.
Many of us loving hanging out at the kids table.
We love the directness of kids, and we like to join in their imaginative games.
If that’s you and you feel odd about it, how about letting yourself enjoy that? Other adults will be happy that you took on the role of “babysitter” (haha, if only they knew! It’s a win win!)
We’re fed up with families pretending to be something they are not.
If we have a very disfunctional family, then we much prefer to opt out of the required celebration alltogether and instead spend that time doing something we really like.
If this is you, you could pull out some of the holiday elements you enjoy (like baking cookies or decorating the house) and keep those and ditch the rest.
Redesign Christmas, what makes it meaningful to you?
Or you can just ignore the holidays altogether.
This time of year is in many parts of the world a darker, quieter, introverted time naturally.
Traditionally it was a time to “add light” to the darkness.
Does modernHOLY days feel like a light overdose to your senses?
If so, perhaps you’d rather stick to some quieter ways to add light, like lighting some candles and a fire in the hearth, without all the blingbling.
On the other hand, perhaps you’re quite attuned to astrological changes (and you can feel the winter solstice on the 21st affecting you and shifting things for some days after still). If so, “adding light” can be more of an inner process: to hold space for any changes and meditatively pay attention to inner shifts during this time.
You could honour the darker time.
You could take a few days just to do some reading or work on a creative project or go to a cabin in the woods.
The darkness can be a creative space, like the womb, or seeds underground: a space for new things to grow.
There are older, pagan celebrations that Xmas was built “on top of”, meaning that there are older, different kinds of meanings you can tune into and use to give meaning to this time of year.
Thinking about traditional farming work-cycles, winter was the time to work less, fix tools and look ahead to the new year. Perhaps Xmas is an ideal time for that for you. What are some tools you could fix? How could you get some extra rest?
A lot of things are put on hold over Xmas, so if you want to opt out of the celebrations then chances are that this will be an easier time to get some quiet time.
You could make it less formal.
While Xmas may feel like something quite formal up north, it’s interesting to note too that in the Souther Hemisphere it’s summer this time of year.
In South Africa for example, it’s common to have an Xmas Braaivleis aka BBQ by the pool or beach. Can you see yourself eating roasted zucchinis on the beach?
How might flip flops give a better-feeling twist to how to celebrate the holidays?
Maybe making the holidays more casual would be just the ticket to make them work for you.
Sometimes family celebrations can feel like they’re stuck in repeat.
Like a good old never ending blast from the past.
Company lunches can be like that too. Perhaps it’s because nothing actually happens at those meet ups. People sit around and eat and talk, but you’re not doing anything together. You’re not making any new memories.
If this goes on year after year, there may be very little holding you together other than old shared stories. Repeated. Every. Single. Year. Ugh.
So, how about adding some holiday cheer by introducing a small activity? It could be as simple as a potluck or a game of Uno.
(I brought tiny boxes of raisins to a serious academic meeting once. Those boxes were actually for kids, and I brought them as a bit of a joke along with some other food. It was surprising, and satisfying though to see a bunch of nutty academics sticking their pinkies into those little boxes to get the raisins out. It was a small change, but it changed the tone of the meeting.)
Other small ways to shake things up: sit next to someone new.
Share a different kind of story.
If your family or group is open to it (perhaps next year) then you might even organise something bigger to do together.
What would allow people to connect in new ways? What would help create good new memories?
What would help get people out of their usual groove (without being too uncomfortable)?
I hope this gave you some new inspiring holiday ideas!
If you’d like to join in future OUT of the Blues holistic conscious conversations , you’re welcome to. We have monthly meetups in our community here
How can I contribute to you today?
Meeting other highly sensitive wounded healers and creators is a great way to get to know each other and get to know yourself better too.
My friend and colleague Loralee Humpherys and I have created an affordable, high value way for you to do just that here over at Freedom 5 – the Art of Sress less living inner circle.
Join us here – Freedom in 5 Monthly membership inner circle
This is an outline of what we will be exploring, educating and envisioning into more flow:
1.January Spring into action, adaptability and resourcefulness – Wood element and the Gall Bladder animal medicine Rat
2.February Spring abundance, money, fertile soil,sacredness & the sexual godess – release Wood element and the Liver animal medicine Cow
3.March transition -Transforming your power centre planning , persistence, surender nature Metal Lung and animal medicine tiger
4.April Metal Summer Taking care of business without fear, intuitive survival vulnerability, patience Large INtestine animal medicine rabbit
5.May Earth Summer digesting life stomach and animal medicine dragon
6.June Fire Autumn Strengthening your way and shedding old skins spleen and animal medicine snake
7.July Fire Autumn Defining Freedom & Power of the herd – connecting with your tribe element heart and animal medicine horse
8.August Winter Sure footedness, stillness Taking stock trust and envision Earth element Small intestine and animal medicine goat
9. September Water element bladder and animal medicine monkey – resourcefulness, problem solving and playfulness,letting go of control
10. October water Going deep into emotions stop scratching the surface -element kidneys and animal medicine chicken – balancing patience with action from your heart not your head
11. November Generating self love & respect getting out of criticism and self judgement and back to allowance through co operation and communityfire element pericardium and the animal medicine of dog
12. December Fire Standing up taking root in your true nature – Order and efficiency element triple hater and the animal medicine of the boar Fearlessness, courage, assertiveness and protection
Sharing holiday struggles and talking about them helped everyone become more aware of why they liked or disliked certain things. At the same time, many members had already found solutions to certain common problems and hearing them share their stories helped other members see how they could do something similar.
Positive change is all about understanding and acknowledgement first, and practical solutions second. It’s about both.
It’s one thing to read about a possibility in a book or an article, it’s something else to hear someone you know describe how that approach is working out in their own life. Personal anecdotes just provide so much more relatable detail, it brings solutions closer.
As highly sensitive, multi sensory beings we need sensitive role models. Those role models can be our peers. We all have different stories and insights to share. Bringing it all together is a powerful thing.
Who is your role model? What animal totems bring you back to your heart?
and with all the talk about Earthing and grounding as a doing, could you just notice the chair supporting you or the grass beneath your feet and FEEL how it grounds your energy just by contacting with it.
Lets move into a space of non doing.
I celebrate you being YOU!