These festive and colorful horned owls look a little like I feel this holiday season – mostly stunned. Most of you know that my honey had a scary hospital vacation, complete with open-heart surgery last month. Puts a lil perspective on things!
We’re definitely keeping it simple this year and riding on our gratitude for the amazing support we’ve had through this recent scary adventure, we’re lovin the little things and I hope to take my own advice below and ride the peaceful holiday wave and enjoy the best of the season.
I have greened my christmas by literally going green. I’ve gone all scrooge on most decorations except the pine greens. Other than the tree, I don’t want a few thousand little white twinkling lights on my house or my wreaths or my mantle. I was buying wreaths and just wanted one with a simple bow. Nothing – they all had lots of plastic balls and strange creatures bursting forth. I’ll do my own . . . where are all those pine cones I saved for a project just like this . . .
This year, when I think about sustainability during the holiday season, it is less about buying or making nifty sustainably-made, green goodies or cooking a locally grown, organic feast (although I’ll do these things for the most part). This year I’m into energy conservation – no, not the electricity or heat keeping us lit up and warm, but my own personal energy levels!
Here’s what I’ve learned (slowly, painfully over too many years) about personal energy conservation through the holidays:
1. pace yourself – it took me way too many years to get this one, but the last couple of years it has worked out well. Last year I scared myself and was completely done 2 weeks before Christmas. This year? Not so much, but there’s still time and hope.
2. simplify, simplify, simplify – in so many cases, less is more, especially when it comes to decorating. candles, and lots of natural elements (greens, holly, cranberries, etc.)
3. sit down and BREATHE – I make myself light the tree and put on some peaceful holiday music and sit quietly at least once a day. I semi-meditate on the things I’m grateful for and sometimes allow myself to feel the presence of those loved ones that aren’t going to be with us in the flesh. The overall concept is harder to achieve, but remarkably energizing.
4. sing-a-long – I happen to love Christmas music and have been collecting it for many years, so I love to blast it while I do whatever chores need to get done – and sing as loud as I can (it usually keeps the family out of my hair or they join in the fun!).
5. Charlie Brown Christmas, The Grinch & Chistmas Vacation - My kids’ age range from 18 – 27 and now we can indoctronate my unspsecting grandchildren (for the kids animated movies anyway). Clark and the Griswold family have brought consistent laughter to us over the years – we actually don’t really need to watch the movie. We can just start reciting lines from our favorite parts . . . ha ha ha ha
6. sleep – Although tempting to put things off till the last minute so you can stay up for a few nights in a row getting it all done, or the temptation to indulge in too many late parties, I find that maintaining healthy sleeping patterns is critical for my holiday sanity.
7. minimize the bad stuff- well, this might be different for some folks, but aside from drugs and alcohol, which I avoid anyway, I have to be careful not to indulge in all the holiday cookies and desserts all those well-meaning sugar pushers try to tempt me with. And this year let’s add GLUTEN to the excommunicated food list! ugh. If I’m tired I have to resist the temptation to go berserk with coffee (which always leads to a sleepless night and sometimes some rather cranky pants moments with relatively innocent family members). I try to stay with my healthy eating habits and routines.
8. keep it light – and I mean keep a sense of humor about everything and try not to take everything so personally or seriously. This is sometimes a major feat as many people get a little intense about the holidays. Laughing as much as possible is a great holiday stress and energizing remedy.
9. banish expectations – sometimes we have these crazy notions of how our holidays are supposed to be and we want to make it PERFECT for our loved ones. Sadly, things rarely turn out that way. I’ve learned to expect nothing extraordinary and I’m ALWAYS pleasantly surprised by the sweet little moments that bring true joy and ripples of peace throughout these silly holidaze.
Have a Peaceful Green Holiday!