How To Be Present During the Holidays

Amanda Stephens

Life can already be full and demanding without adding all the extras of the holidays. Our calendars overflow with parties and kids’ Christmas programs. Our to-do lists grow longer and longer as we think through gifts, travel and meals.

Inside, you probably long for a different kind of experience — a holiday that doesn’t feel like a whirlwind and doesn’t make your head spin. So what’s the secret to not being swallowed by all of the activity and commercialism?

Here are a few tips to help you be more present this holiday season.

Remember that busyness is not just a state of mind but a state of heart.

Is your schedule so packed and your mind so full that what’s overflowing feels frazzled and rushed? Be intentional about building margin into your day. If you need to, block off time in your calendar. What would it look like to routinely step out of the chaos and push pause on everything?  

Make peace with letting a ball drop.

Does the thought of not sending out all your holiday cards make you sweat? Is the family meal you’re planning starting to overwhelm you? Scaling back a bit might be worth it to achieve a more peaceful frame of mind.

Make time to help others and remember the focus is on Jesus.

It’s so easy for us to get caught up in our own agenda this time of year. Are there families who are going through a difficult time that you could reach out to? What can you do to keep the focus on what Christmas is all about?

Don’t allow the activity of the season to prevent you from dealing with feelings of loneliness, disappointment or loss.

Is this your first Christmas without a loved one? Are you disappointed with the reality of facing another holiday alone? Are you dreading the thought of family drama that comes with going back home? Take time to talk to a friend or counselor and be honest about your deeper feelings.

Let technology go.

This tip is a tough one, but relinquish the need to share every holiday experience on social media. Will your life crumble if people don’t see you at that party or know that you made adorable Christmas cookies with your kids? Do you have to post pics of how awesome your house looks decorated? Taking a step away from technology allows you to fully experience those moments and make time for new ones.

Exercise the right “no” muscle.

Remember, when you say yes to one thing it means you’re saying no to something — or someone — else. Think through your choices, understanding that a yes to a night out might mean time missed with the kids, and that working late could mean saying no to an important relationship. When you make your decisions, look through the lens of your values to ensure that you’re investing in what matters most to you.

Are you interested in learning more about how to live an unhurried life? Visit for more resources.

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