During this time of the year I always enjoy the shift in focus from business to family, friends and the appreciation of all relationships we hold dear to us. Everyone seemingly agrees to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of long work weeks and instead take time to have a leisurely meal, play board games and reminisce about the past year’s accomplishments and challenges.
Too often this time period that we should lend to leisure and catching up, becomes lost in a different kind of commotion, the clamor of trying to create the most well decorated and picture-perfect Christmas for everyone. All the expectations can get a little overwhelming flawless decorations, gifts, homemade dishes to pass at parties etc. That said I turn to a quote from my favorite Indian guru and yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda.
The pleasure of modern man is in getting more and more. But isn’t it better to live simply — without so many luxuries and with fewer worries? There is no pleasure in driving yourself until you cannot enjoy what you have….The time will come when mankind will begin to get away from the consciousness of needing so many material things. More security and peace will be found in the simple life.
Reading this quote helps me to get beyond my own thought barriers of what the holiday season needs to include to be enjoyable. Moreover, I connect to what Paramahansa outlines as the requirements to lead a happy life. It is delightful to have a well decorated home, presents impeccably wrapped and the most delicious potluck casserole ever, but it can too often come at the cost of taking joy from the season of peace and acknowledgement of Christ’s birth. Taking a step back to think about what is really important to you during this season, may help you find more time to for peace, relaxation and rejuvenation for the year ahead.
As my own personal “simplifying” example, this year the only decorating I decided to do was to bring up my two delightful multi-colored bulb trees and put them on the fireplace. I also completely love Christmas cards, so I used them to decorate our living room. Additionally, to each gathering I attended I brought a Kroger purchased dish to pass. What I am focusing on this year is making sure I have ample leisure time booked with all my friends and family. I would also like to make a few new Christmas cookies (any suggestions would be welcomed) and I know that I’ll have the chance to make some homemade peirogies with my mom.
Not everything has to be perfect and wrapped with an exquisite bow to be truly appreciated. You can change the standards of “Christmas Excellence” this year to make time for what it is that genuinely brings you joy during the season. All throughout the year there are so many “should do’s,” but are they really adding anything to your overall fulfillment in life? The holidays are just another time to step back and evaluate how you are using your life energy to enjoy your time while you are here. If it brings you peace and more time with your family, send those Christmas cards after New Year’s Day. Maybe you will even have a chance to write a personal message 🙂