For most of us, the holidays are a sweet time to revisit traditions that connect us to our home, families, friends and spiritual practices.
At a deep level we know these connections can increase our sense of well-being.
But often, we also experience the stress that comes with weeks of shopping for perfect gifts and brace ourselves for the influx of stuff into our already full house.
The research is clear, although our consumption of material goods has doubled in the past 50 years, our happiness levels have flatlined.
Here’s an interesting bit of info…in a 2017 Harris Poll survey found nearly 7 in 10 Americans said they would skip exchanging gifts this holiday season if their friends and family agreed to it.
Did you catch that? Of the 10 sitting around the holiday table, 7 of us would have been all too happy to skip spending time and money on buying gifts.
AND 60% said they would spend more time with friends and family if they didn't have to worry about gifts.
Spending more time with family and friends…a solid alternative to lonely, late night online shopping and crowded malls.
So instead, here are ideas to help you spend time together:
1. Togetherness. Together, research and choose one of the micro loaning non-profits such as kiva.org to support small businesses throughout the world.
2. Find a Good Cause. For those who have everything, check CharityNavigator.org to find a highly rated charity that supports a cause this person is passionate about. Check out local shelters for those who are homeless or offer food to those who are food insecure.
In Kansas City? Don’t forget about our local harvesters.org a community food network; they are happy to have monetary donations and hands-on help.
3. Plan Family Nights. Gather around the kitchen table and create a monthly family night for the year. Maybe a movie night, visit a new restaurant, library event, live theater, local and regional state parks, bike ride to breakfast, streetcar ride or city tour, museum visit, volunteer work, art class, or a family cooking class. Most cities are full of amazing opportunities.
Start a conversation NOW to explore how to create new traditions focused on using your energy to create experiences together.
This new way of living through the holidays may be just the connection and relief and you are looking for. This year, peace on earth can begin with you.