With the holiday season upon us, there is no shortage of things to do. By now, you’re already dividing your time between community events, parties with friends and family, school activities, and holiday shopping. All that activity could leave you bustling about continually. Yet, there is a big difference between motion and action.
When you take action, you are moving in the direction you’ve designed to go—you’re making plans that matter to you and working to get the most out of your efforts. It can be especially fulfilling during the holidays, as you plan to make special memories with those you love. Remember however, during this busy season especially, if you don’t plan your time someone else will. So today we’d like to give a few suggestions that might help you make meaningful memories this holiday season.
Remember who you are.
Before you take any action in life, it’s always wise to consider who you are to whom. To some, you may be a father or mother, to others, you’re a sister or brother. You’re an employer or employee, a neighbor, a child, and a friend. You behave differently in each of your roles. You treat your mother differently than you treat your spouse, for example. So in a way, you’re a slightly different person to each of these people. How do they see you, and how do you want to be seen by them?
What memories would you like to create with each of the people who matter most in your life? It’s essential that you consider this early in the holiday season, so you can measure your actions against this decision. For example: If you have a strong desire to serve the less fortunate with your children during the Christmas season, you’ll want to be sure you create that opportunity, rather than simply hoping the chance presents itself. Setting goals that relate to each of your roles is a much better way to ensure that you do what you truly want to do.
Remember your resources are limited.
Avoid going into debt by setting a budget for holiday expenses. As you do this, you’ll realize fairly quickly that your funds are limited. But if you limit your spending, you’ll be more likely to consider each item you purchase. You’ll search for gifts with personal meaning. Some of our greatest memories include heartfelt gifts.
Time is your most sacred resource. Once it’s spent you can never get it back, so it’s important that you spend it well. Decide which events you want to attend. If you have family members performing in a holiday concert, you’ll want to go to that. Consider which parties and activities will mean the most to you and your loved ones.
Your time is the best gift. It doesn’t take long for parents to feel like their homes are filled with toys and gadgets. If you feel a little overrun with stuff, consider giving your children tickets to events they might like. Buy tickets to a play, sporting event, or ballet for you and your child. Wrap them and place them under the tree. Gifts like this say that you aren’t only willing to spend your money for your children, but you’re also excited to give them your time. With all that we have pulling at us, time together is at a premium.
Consider the needs of others.
Every person you meet, every family you see has their share of challenges. All of us have serious needs, and yet we all have something to give. Although resources may be limited, decide what you can share with others. Perhaps you know someone who would love to go to a Christmas concert, if they could just get out. Offer a ride. You may know someone who wishes he or she could roast a turkey or bake holiday bread. Teach them how. Make a goal with your family to find at least one person to serve each week. As you do this, you’ll find great joy and peace, and your own challenges will feel a little smaller.
Consider this. Talk with your family and decide if you would be willing to reduce the gifts you give each other and use the money you would have spent to purchase gifts for a family in need. Whatever you decide to do, you’ll find that these moments of giving will become some of your family’s favorite memories.
You’ll find much more success if you plan for it.
Time travels quickly, especially during the holidays. Take a few minutes now to plan what matters most to you and your family. If you plan together and focus on your priorities, you will have a holiday season that is truly memorable. Happy Holidays!