Cultivate Joy During the 2023 Holiday Season


It’s that time of year again: the holidays! This is a time of excitement, happiness, and joy for some people; depression, anxiety, and stress for others and a mix of both for many.


If you’re feeling out of sorts or mixed about the holidays, I recommend that you turn your focus inward. Reflect on what brings you joy and make that a priority. You can’t control other people, you only have power over yourself. Whether you realize it or not, you choose your thoughts, you experience feelings related to those thoughts, and you choose your perspective and your reactions to what other people do and say. Let go of other people’s expectations and manage your own. Happiness is an inside job.


A friend of mine was feeling out of sorts about the holidays. Her family has always spent Christmas Day together. Her son and his wife had a new baby and they decided to stay at their house, rather than travel two hours to visit parents and grandparents. They chose a new tradition for themselves.


My friend was troubled about this for a bit, primarily with how she would break the news to her husband and daughter. Although they were invited to visit their son and his family at his house, they didn’t want to do so. It’s a long ride and they also prefer to stay home. It would be the first time in over 35 years that their core family unit wouldn’t be spending Christmas Day together. To add to it, December 25th is my friend’s birthday. So, in addition to skipping their traditional Christmas, her son would not be visiting his mother on her birthday. Ugh!


My friend adopted a healthy attitude. She reflected on when she created her family traditions years ago and she respects her son’s preference to do the same. She proposed to her family that they each celebrate at their own homes and then get together on New Year’s Day. They tried it out, reserving their options to keep adjusting things until their new tradition feels good for all involved.


If you’re feeling troubled this holiday season, go within. Reflect on what truly brings you joy. Is it something within your control or is it dependent on other people? If it’s dependent on other people, peel the layers away until you’re left with what you can control. Happiness is an inside job. Once you clarify what you want and why you want it, you can cultivate more of it.


This year, put yourself first and do more to please yourself. Then do what you can to encourage others nurture themselves.


Here are some tips to help you enjoy the season:


  1. Define the holidays your way. We’ll be staying home this year, having a traditional Christmas. Years ago, I changed our holiday traditions to enjoy them any way we want. Some years we travel, other years we stay home. Some years we have guests, other years we enjoy our family of three. It’s all OK! Do what brings you joy.


  1. Clean your space. Doing so automatically lifts the chi. Use natural cleaning products, rather than ones with chemical additives or artificial fragrances. White vinegar and baking soda work great. Citrus and spice add vitality.


  1. Create a welcoming entrance. It attracts good chi. I like to hang a fresh wreath on my door. I also love seeing a variety of beautifully decorated doors.


  1. A fresh Christmas tree, wreath, a fresh poinsettia, fresh evergreens, or flowers bring in fragrance, color, and a high quality of chi and lifeforce. When the holidays are over, you can recycle them, eliminating storage.


  1. Reassess your holiday décor and display what brings you joy. Let items go that you no longer like and put away at least one thing for every item that you add. Too much stuff is overwhelming. Less is more. We only display what we want during any given year. This year we’ve chosen not to set up our holiday village. It’ll be less work.


  1. Lights uplift chi. They add joy during the dark days of winter. Enjoy them.


  1. Play music! Classical music, in particular, has a high vibration. It brings joy.


  1. Be flexible if you’re purchasing and/or sending gifts. The supply chains remain sluggish. Have alternatives. Buy what’s available locally. Mail early. This year. It would be best to purchase your gifts and mail your packages by December 12th.


  1. Connect with people who are important to you. Call them, connect virtually, send a handwritten card. Reach out to people who are alone or those who have been going through hard times. A small gesture goes a long way.


  1. Nurture yourself! Do selfcare; get a massage; enjoy a long, hot bath; enjoy some favorite foods, watch a favorite movie; curl up with a cup of tea and a good book.


This holiday season, put yourself first and take good care. You can choose to be happy. As you do so, you’ll automatically help uplift the spirit of others around you.