Are you feeling the extra-busyness of the season? 
Are you spending time finding just the right gifts for the people in your life?
Have a calendar full of extra events, shopping, parties, and get-togethers?

I wanted to take the opportunity today to send out a simple reminder.
We all know this, and it's something that I think is good to be reminded of this time of year.....

What is the ULTIMATE holiday gift?

The gift of your PRESENCE rather than your presents. 


Remember to be as present as possible in this busy season!

This month can go by in a blur if you allow it to...OR it can be a great time to really enjoy yourself, enjoy your family, enjoy your friends, enjoy all of the people around you and the spirit that this season can bring! I'm not talking about the hectic-paced, stress-inducing, shopping and junk food-focused spirit of the season...I'm talking about the quality time together, celebratory, pretty lights, tradition-filled, gifting spirit of the season! 

When you focus on being really present in the moments of this season, you'll find that it is an enormous gift to yourself, as well as everyone around you. 

Life almost always seems to be busy for most of us, so as we make extra time to gather together, breathe deeply, and bring yourself into the present moment as much as possible, really enjoying this quality time. 

Let go of trying to find the perfect gift for people, and focus on being fully PRESENT as the best gift of all. 

Some tips to help your efforts:  

1) Before entering a store, a holiday get-together, or having people over, take a moment to set a strong intention of being as present as you can. Just taking a few moments to set this intention quietly with yourself (or as a family!) can go a long way. 

2) To bring yourself fully present at any moment, take a few deep breaths. Focus on following that breathe as you deeply inhale and slowly exhale. Just this can do wonders. Want to get really present? Take another moment to bring your attention to each of your 5 senses, 1 at a time. Your sense of touch, taste, smell, hearing, & vision. How do the clothes feel on your skin? What can you taste? What do you smell? What can you hear? What can you see?
You can do this in just a minute or two and totally shift your level of presence in the moment.

3) At get-togethers that you are hosting, with your family, or somewhere that you have some influence on speaking up about it, make an agreement to put phones and devices away! (at least for meals or  a portion of the day) You could even go so far as to have a basket out to have everyone put their phones in for part of the day? At a minimum, vow to keep yours put away so that you are present. People may take notice, and follow suit! The best teachers teach by example you know! 

4) At your get-togethers: Play games, cook and clean up as a team, tell stories! Start conversations that really create connection such as what was everyone's favorite part of 2018? What is everyone most grateful for in 2018? What is everyone's new year resolutions or goals?

5) LET GO of wanting things to be perfect. It's a busy season. There are bound to be things that don't go quite as planned:  Gift projects that don't get finished, your recipe not turning out how you wanted it to, inclement weather creating travel difficulties, a family drama that creates some level of uncomfortable-ness....I could go on. It's just life. This is not the season to strive for perfection. (no season is, but especially this one) when things happen, be like a duck is with water, and let it roll off your back. 

6) When you are out and about in your community, driving, running errands, shopping, and what not....make an effort to be present and grateful in the moments so that you are not spending your time sitting in the extra traffic feeling frustrated. When you are out shopping, slow down just a bit, and be present with the people around you. Think of how much sweetness you could bring to the day of your community retail workers by being patient, present and conversational? (these people work their ass off during the season and deal with a lot of people all day that aren't always pleasant.) 

Keeping a focus on this can dramatically shift how much you and those around you really enjoy the holidays. Being mindful and present is a habit and one that can catch on quickly with a little focus. 

Wishing you a beautiful, fun, and fulfilling holiday season! 

Shelly