1. To see and hear what is, instead of what “should” be, was, or will be.
  2. To say what one feels and thinks, instead of what one “should” .
  3. To feel what one feels, instead of what one “ought” to feel.
  4. To ask for what one wants, instead of always waiting for permission.
  5. To take risks on one’s own behalf, instead of choosing to be only “secure” and not rocking the boat.   ~Virginia Satir

The holiday season is a time that’s filled to the brim with “should’s”, “have to’s” and “ought’s”.  We attend work parties we don’t want to go to because we feel we “ought to”.  We travel hours across the cold wintry landscape to see unhealthy or dysfunctional relatives we’d really rather not see.   We untangle and hang countless strings of lights, when we’d really rather just chill with netflix on the couch with those we love.  We bake endless batches of cookies for a cookie exchange we don’t want to participate in because we’ve always been expected to and don’t want to disappoint anyone.  We shop ’til we drop and wrap ’til we’re wrecked into the wee hours of the morning…and then wonder why we don’t feel “jolly” or in that ‘old holiday spirit!!

You get it… you’ve been there and I’ve been there.  We end up scattered, exhausted and anything but festive once the actual holiday finally rolls around. But the change begins with awareness … awareness that you (and only YOU!) can choose to be more mindful, more aware and more in tune with what you really think, feel and want for your holiday season.

For example, how might your holiday be calmer, more peaceful, more joyful and more meaningful if you could cast out the “should’s” and “have to’s”? How much more energy and enthusiasm might you have during the holidays if you could throw obligation and expectations out the frosted window along with the burnt gingerbread cookies?  How much  more meaningful would your vacation time over the holidays be if you could trash “traditions” that no longer work for you and cast out ill fitting Christmas customs?

My challenge to you this holiday season it to live out the Five Freedoms.  Rather than going along with the scattered, frenzied holiday chaos that no longer serves you, spend some time consciously choosing what elements of the holiday season really matter to you and your loved ones.  Get wild, creative and definitely think outside of the box.  Discuss, brainstorm and journal your thoughts, feelings and wishes.  Then, dare to create your own personalized version of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Festivas (aka the Seinfeld Christmas tradition) Kwanzaa and New Years celebrations.  I promise you’ll have a much more fulfilling holiday season if you do.

Giving yourself permission to say what you think, feel what you feel and ask for what you want may just be the best holiday gift you’ve ever given or received…a precious life changing gift you can carry forward into a hopeful new year!

Peace, Joy, Love and Happy Holidays to all!