Monday, December 1, 2014

Creativity Tips: Five Ideas for Happier Holidays

As part of our Thanksgiving decorations, Kate cut out those turkey handprint forms kids use in elementary school -- you know, you trace your hand, cut it out, color it like a turkey. Then, on the big feast day, we decorated our hands and wrote what we are grateful for on the palm.

Being the brilliant writer that I am, I wrote something terrifically original ... family and friends. And the first thing I thought when I woke up Friday morning was: I should have written Joy. Fun. Laughter. Because, for me, that's what makes life worthwhile. And that's what made this Thanksgiving so special -- the house was filled with laughter.

For example, there was this moment. Tom went to pick up his brother, and I was afraid there wouldn't be time for him to carve the turkey. So I tried. Mary looked up instructions online. I became a vegetarian the moment I tried to amputate the leg. Mary and Kate then stepped up. And there was this moment:
Poor bird. 
And then this:

They did a fabulous job and Tom finished up when he got home. My guess is, we'll laugh at turkey carving for years to come. And that brings us to the five ideas for happier holidays:
  1. Carve out time for fun. Remember what really brings you joy during this crazy busy season, whether that's time with friends and family or quiet time with a good book. Enjoy yourself. 
  2. Consider the gift of time. I've stopped the gift exchange with many friends. Instead of buying presents, we spend the money at dinner out or doing something together. (Most of us have enough "stuff" and it's time with people we love that is most precious.)
  3. Remember that it's not a competition. I can turn anything into a competition. (When I tried to knit, I had to remind myself that "knit one, purl two" was not a score.) However, baking, decorating and wrapping should be fun. Just fun. If it's not fun, stop the insanity. The world will still revolve. Santa will still arrive. 
  4. Go back. Think about what you enjoyed most about the holidays before the responsibility of the holidays was on your shoulders. Playing with the dreidel? Decorating sugar cookies? Setting up a model train under the tree? Whatever it was, do it again. 
  5. Sit down. Relax. Have a hot chocolate or a hot toddy. Watch a movie -- there are so many classics to choose from -- It's a Wonderful Life. White Christmas. The Polar Express. Choose your flick and sit your tuchas down. That's right. You can sit during the holidays. I promise, it will be OK. 
Now's the time to wrap yourself in the joy of the season. Here's to the happiest of holidays for all of us!