This Holiday, Make a Yes List That Supports What You Value Most

Have you ever worked so hard to generate holiday magic that you made it impossible to feel any magic?  When we say yes to everything, we court exhaustion and overwhelm.  We turn the season into a grueling marathon, which defeats every reason we gave ourselves for doing so much.

We should probably say no to plenty of things during the holidays, just to save our sanity.  But then how do we make them special?  Just saying no seems so dull.

Related article:  This Holiday, Just Say No

Saying yes with thoughtfulness and intention is a positive way to approach any task or project because it sets your priorities and helps you manage your expectations.  Too many expectations and you feel stress and failure if you aren't able to achieve them, and too few (or zero) expectations and you feel unmotivated and run the risk of missing out on positive experiences.

So consider these possibilities for saying yes this holiday season, and craft a Christmas that is less harried and more happy.


6 items that belong on your holiday yes list

1.  Say yes to moderation.

Whether that means fewer activities, simpler meals, less sugar and alcohol, or more intentional gift-giving, let moderation be your goal.  Stop chasing the most of anything or "the best holiday ever," and find focus and satisfaction with "just enough."

2.  Say yes to a budget.

There's a ton of pressure at this time of year to eat out more, give more and bigger gifts, dress fancier, and buy more entertainment.  But January always comes, and you'll start the New Year so much happier without a load of debt, clutter, and weight gain.  

So make a budget and stick to it.  Consider your time budget too.  Respect those limits and stop overextending yourself.

Related article:  Your Personal Minimalist Holiday

3.  Say yes to white space.

tea break
You know that things don't always go the way you intend.  Stuff happens that can derail the most careful plans – that's just life.  If you have no margin, you have no flexibility.

White space gives you the opportunity to be resilient and resourceful.  It supports you when you want to be gracious and patient.  White space leaves room for creativity and serendipity.  Your holidays will be happier if you don't box yourself in or turn rigid and demanding.

4.  Say yes to rest and self-care.

How many times have you been sick and exhausted by the time Christmas finally arrives?  I can't tell you how often I used to wear myself out back in the day, and my mom always did the same.  In fact, Christmas Day always wound up being a major letdown because we'd overdone everything leading up to it.  By that time we just wanted it to be done... and that's so sad!

Is that how you want your family to remember the holiday?  I bet not.  You don't want to merely "survive" the season or just "get through it."  So don't drop the things you know you need to stay healthy, such as adequate sleep and a healthy diet.  If you're an introvert like me, build in alone time.  Even if you're an extravert, give yourself chances to be calm, and take time to notice the things that bring you joy.

5.  Say yes to quiet.

Whether that means walking in the rain or snow, reading a good book, soaking in the tub, sipping afternoon tea, or enjoying a silent night, make time to be alone, thoughtful, and in tune with your feelings and rhythms.  You'll feel reenergized for whatever comes next.

Related article:  A Silent Night

6.  Say yes to joy.

Christmas cookies
What brings you joy?  Maybe it's a fresh snowfall, a happy glow in your child's eyes, or doing something kind for someone else.  Maybe it's:

  • giving a bag that contains a few home-baked cookies, a new warm pair of socks, and a $5 fast food gift card to a homeless person.
  • getting cozy in front of the fire (or the lit tree and lots of candles) with a special someone.
  • enjoying the city holiday lights at 5:30 in the morning instead of fighting the evening crowds, then going to your favorite breakfast place just as it opens.
  • perusing family photo albums and retelling all of the old stories to your kids or grandkids.
  • hearing "O Holy Night" sung in church on Christmas Eve.

Make a list of what brings you joy.  Say no to so much else this season, but say yes to your joy.  Let the power of no give you the time, energy, and focus you need.

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Find more freedom and energy by crafting a yes list that expresses your values, and say no to everything else.  I truly believe you'll have a happier holiday.

If you enjoyed this post, I know you'll love my book A Minimalist Holiday: Simplify Your Celebration for More Meaning and Joy, available on Amazon.


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