Starting with the Turkey Trot, Gig Harbor offers countless ways to embrace the spirit of the holidays. Come out for the Gig Harbor Tree Lighting, the Annual Lighted Boat Parade, Santa at the Garden Room, the Christmas Play at Paradise Theatre or any of the countless activities we enjoy in the Harbor. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa or another festival, there’s something for everyone. Add family gatherings, business parties, church services or cantata and your calendar can fill to overflowing. If you plan your holidays well, they can be a very powerful time. If not, it can simply be crazy busy.
Let’s take a step back to embrace the holidays with intention.
We begin with Thanksgiving Day – a day set aside to express gratitude. It’s a day dedicated to noticing what we do have rather than what we don’t have. It’s a day for expressing our appreciation. Whether we simply pause to feel the warmth of gratitude or share the day with family or friends, Thanksgiving is a time to bathe everything in a positive light and to share our heartfelt “thank you’s.”
I set time aside to reflect and write down the highlights of the year that’s coming to a close. I review my 2016 calendar and read my journal to capture the positive experiences of the previous year and reframe the negatives in a healthy way. Thanksgiving not only invites us to bathe the year in gratitude, but it offers an opportunity for discovery. Deliberate reflection reveals insights. Sharing them with family, friends or colleagues magnifies them. When Thanksgiving is embraced with intention, it deepens relationships and sets the tone for the upcoming holidays.
Why not take one more step and use Thanksgiving to set the stage for the coming year? Simply ask, “What do I want to be grateful for this time next year?”
Thanksgiving invites two steps: gratitude and reflection.
Third, the twinkling lights in our homes and around town are a reminder to stay positive. It’s so important to keep negativity at bay. In the darkest of times, there is always a light. You and I can bring light to the dark in so many ways. Remember the power of forgiveness. Carrying anger, regret or frustration unnecessarily burdens our future. Forgiveness lightens the load. As you identify areas in your life for forgiveness, remember to include yourself.
Fourth, let the holidays be a time to eliminate excess. That may sound counterintuitive, but the holidays present so many opportunities, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. What do you find most meaningful? What would you love for the holidays? Do that. Who do you want to see and who do you want to celebrate with? Send invitations early and be creative. You may say “no thank you,” to some invitations and carry others into the New Year. What spiritual traditions do you value? Fill the season with what has meaning to you. The idea is to be proactive. You’re building memories. Decide what’s most meaningful to you and those you love. Do that.
For many, the week before the New Year is somewhat quiet. This is a great time to wrap up loose ends, so you really do have a blank slate for the New Year. Overwhelm, procrastination, feeling stuck and a host of other issues disappear when things are complete. When the clutter is cleared, you’ll find openings for inspiration and creativity. If you’ve not yet set your goals for 2017, now is the time.
Preparing in this way sets the stage for 2017. When intentionally embraced, the holidays bring you through important steps for fulfillment. With Thanksgiving, there’s gratitude, reflection and insight. Throughout the Holiday Season, there’s intention, positivity and celebration. You’ve eliminated the excess when you make deliberate choices for meaningful activities and connections. You’ve taken steps for forgiveness and cleared up loose ends. Your goals are clear.
On New Year’s Day you look to 2017 with anticipation for growth, knowing you’ll your business and your life to the next level.