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It’s easy to get swept into the unspoken competitiveness of the consumer nature of the holidays. Who has more lights? Bigger parties? More presents under the tree? But this is not what the holidays are meant to be about. It's about creating connections and memories with your family and kids. Ariel White, the founder of My Little Yoni, gives you six tips that help her stay grounded and present during the holidays.
Give More Presence and Less Presents
While I still give a few meaningful physical gifts during the holidays (such as collectible My Little Yoni charms,) I try to emphasize spending quality time with the people I love as opposed to feeling pressured to give or acquire more stuff. Time is the most valuable thing we have.
Honor the Real History of Holidays
Many of our holidays have a horrid and painful past. Whether it’s the killing of native peoples or the stamping out of goddess culture, taking a moment to consider the real history of a holiday and then discussing it with immediate family helps me feel more connected to contribution and to genuine gratitude.
The idea is not to bum yourself out, but to take ownership of the stories you tell your family around holidays. Discussing the reality of what our ancestors went through can help us appreciate the things we have and make us and our children more committed to doing something of service -- which brings me to the next tip!
This is meant to be a time of coming together, celebrating life and giving to those less fortunate. Finding a volunteer opportunity that you can share with your family this month will help reinforce the true meaning of the holiday spirit.
Last year my son was getting extra ‘complainy’ around the holidays. He was becoming more demanding vs excited about the gifts he expected to receive. So, I set up an afternoon for him to volunteer with Daddy where they handed out food to the homeless. The whole process of setting it up, anticipating the day, fulfilling on the commitment and discussing it afterwards helped him feel more confident and connected.
Whether it’s a few hours at a soup kitchen or planting trees, spending time as a family giving to a cause, will be the highlight of your holiday season. You get out of your typical routine, foster pride and confidence in your children's ability to contribute, gets you away from screens and into the present moment, and gives you something to discuss and remember fondly as a family.
While I love feasting, I know that when I sit around and eat for days on end without much movement I can start feeling sluggish and bloated. Let the likely disruption in your standard routine lead to new physical experiences that emphasize PLAY. Whether that’s getting out into nature for a hike, having a dance party with your family, wrestling with your lover or finally treating yourself to that surf session, you'll create memories for a lifetime.
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the holidays fall inside the season of winter. Our social rituals can be a bit at odds with a season where days are shorter and we feel like slowing down. Be extra discerning this year about social activities and try to balance them with time where you can honor this season of hibernation and reflection.
I highly recommend taking a few hours or a day of silence where you reflect on your year, journal, take inventory, give thanks, rest and reset. Consider a ‘reflection game’ for you and your family where you discuss the year in review and take time to collectively journal about what you learned, what was challenging, what you are celebrating and what you are intending for the year ahead.
Take as many opportunities to pause and CELEBRATE yourself and the people you love as much as possible. Redefine celebration – doing things that make you feel lighter, more positive and healthy count as celebration! Make art, make love, practice gratitude and do things that make you laugh. You can trust that the #YoniGang will be getting our belly laughs in as we wrap up this year and vision into 2020!
(photo credit: @artfucker)