Have you been swept away in a sea of red and green, topped with a bow?  Do you suddenly feel you have a rapport with Scotch tape?  Are your bells jingling?  More importantly, have you forgotten one of the most crucial gifts for the holidays?  To breathe; definitely star that gift and put it at the top of your list

It’s amazing that during our most stressful times, we often forego the basics in order to keep up.  But, foregoing the basics often leads us to a place where we no longer even enjoy what it was we were working so hard to achieve.  Breathing, water, healthy food, quiet time, and sleep; these really should not be on a “luxury” list.

Yes, being organized by tracking what you’ve purchased, and keeping the receipts in one place can certainly be a valuable helper during the holidays, but what I’d really like to focus on is holding the deepness of the Christmas spirit within us.

When I think of Christmas spirit, I think of joyousness, acceptance for all, a calmed sense of choice, forgiveness, gratitude, appreciation, listening, quality family time, traditions, sensing nature close within us, and reflecting on the beliefs of our spirituality.  And, when we really stop and think about it, no gift is going to increase or decrease these attributes.

I went hiking this past weekend during our first snow.  The woods were near silent, with only the compacting of the snow under the deep treads of our hiking boots, and the intensity of our breath as our heart rate increased.  It was the start of Christmas for me as I tapped into my deeper joyousness and gratitude that I hold for the season.  Witnessing the magic of thick snowflakes coating the forest; watching branches curve under its weight, being painted by the blowing wind – it was overwhelmingly soul stirring and serene.  My consciousness was calmed, needing for nothing more than to be present and allow the beauty of winter to capture me.

This feeling, this is what I long for each day, but ultimately, this feeling to me is how I hold the spirit of Christmas within me during the razzmatazz that often is presented as Christmas.  Now, I love walking my neighborhood and seeing the windows all aglow, the trees shining bright through the windows – and I appreciate all the effort another soul put into displaying their love for the season.  But, I also know that it is these traditions that can often sweep us up into a whirlwind that keeps us from forming a complete sentence beyond the task on our to-do list until the New Year has begun.

So, how do we hold that deeper space, while still allowing for our traditions, and often, expectations, to still be embraced?  Remember that list that I mentioned, the one that often moves to “luxuries”? Well, that is the key.  If we are swallowed whole by Christmas gatherings, but don’t make time for sledding adventures – those Christmas gatherings become a little less joyous, and a bit more of a chore.  It’s true!  And when we over-indulge in fudge and cookies all in the name of Christmas, we are likely not fueling our body with the nutrients it needs to regulate our moods and our waistline.  Staying up late to take in QVC specials, while not getting a solid eight hours of rest, will certainly lead to irritability and poor decision making.  This is how we lose our gift receipts, forget what we’ve already bought, lose the car in the parking lot, and pick fights with the very ones we are hoping to give a magical Christmas to with the purchases we are carrying at that very same moment. We lose our ability to drop into our calmer mind, where gratitude, patience, and forgiveness live… Our Christmas spirit.

I encourage you to consider making time for yourself this holiday season as important as the stocking stuffers, or perhaps even your Christmas day outfit!  When you’re sitting in your car after loading the trunk with treasures, take a few deep breaths; allow yourself to be filled with gratitude for those you hold dear, and how you are able to express that love.  Take a moment and watch those unique snowflakes fall on your windshield; and as you allow the magic of the season to come over you, bask in the warmth of your Christmas spirit.

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