simple tips for a mindful holiday

Hello December! While I'm not totally sure where November went, I am just going to be in the moment and accept that December 1 is here and dive into the magic of the holiday season.

If you haven't already gotten into the holiday spirit, the start of December tends to be a pretty good reminder (launch!) of it all. And if realizing it's December 1st has you feeling unprepared or panicked, don't worry!  It's easier than you think to get prepared for the holiday season and these helpful tips will help you celebrate the holidays in a mindful way.

 ...festive trinkets from The Light Side HQ!  

...festive trinkets from The Light Side HQ!  

I've had the holidays on my mind for a while now; I start thinking about the soft cozy glow of those twinkly lights just as soon Halloween is over! Who doesn't love being nestled up near the fire, sipping something warm and tasty with good company surrounded by warm ambiance, right? Around this time of year, like many of you, I begin to reflect on all that has happened and savor the memories of my favorite experiences and moments that the year brought my way. This has got me thinking about how being present and in the moment, giving of oneself and making memories are such simple and amazing gifts. These are the items at the top of my wish list and they are also the things I'd like to give this year.

Inspired by this, I am dedicated to making this holiday season a mindful one. I want to focus less on buying things because I am caught up in the hype and rush of the holiday shopping season... I want to create experiences that become treasured memories that will mean more and last longer than any material item I could ever give or get from under a tree. I want to celebrate the season with simplicity and really feel the holidays, not just get through / survive them. Doing this is easier than you think; I've put together a list of simple tips for having a mindful holiday this year.

1) Gifts From The Heart

Instead of gifting the usual big boxed store brands at the risk of getting mall'd (see what I did there???)  shop local, make something by hand or give the gift of an experience.

 ... No, really Santa. I swear!   me and the big guy at Market Collective (happening the next three weekends in December until Christmas at the Chinese Cultural Centre) 

... No, really Santa. I swear!

me and the big guy at Market Collective (happening the next three weekends in December until Christmas at the Chinese Cultural Centre) 

  • Check out your local markets and shop the serious talent that exists there; there are so many unique items, crafted with such love! And bonus, when you buy/ support local you're giving your community a gift as well!
  • Making something can be baking or cooking, sewing/ knitting, making a video or writing a handwritten letter. Handwritten notes and letters are one of my favorite things-there is such a beautiful, meaningful presence in taking the time write out, by hand, what is there in our hearts.
  • Gifting an experience is a wonderful alternative to traditional gift giving. Present someone you love with a night of painting, floral arranging, pottery making, a ski lesson, tickets to the orchestra/ ballet/ concert. Maybe it's a pre-paid pass to a yoga studio or paid registration to a yoga workshop...whatever it is, it will create a memory of your generosity and thoughtfulness to be cherished for many years to come.

2) Avoid Over-planning

We can't possibly make it to every holiday party or event and a good way to make sureyou are keeping a balance and avoid over-planning is to not say yes to invites right away. Saying "thank you, I'll get back you to as soon as I can" is a great way to make sure you're only committed to what you truly have time for. If I know I can't be fully present with someone or somewhere (for example rushing to two events but not really getting to enjoy either of them or the people there fully), I would rather decline out of respect for the person who invited me and make alternate plans for another time soon.

If you're calendar is looking crazy-full for the holidays, make sure to carve out time to restore your own energy to avoid getting run down. Make time for your mat, keep up with the bubble baths and indulge in quiet moments to keep balanced.

3) Play! Outside!

It's so easy to get swept up into the busy holiday season and we forget that there is this magical season available for us to frolic and play in. A great way to connect with family and friends is to play- maybe instead of a dinner or coffee date, you and your best girlfriend take the coffee to go and go ice skating! You could plan a day trip to the mountains for a snow shoe adventure with a winter picnic with your love. Or, you could plan a ski day or afternoon at the toboggan hill for you and group of friends or family and enjoy feeling like a kid again! Catch snowflakes on your tongue! Make snow angels! Build a snowman! Have a snow ball fight!

 ...making snow angels in the fresh powder!  

...making snow angels in the fresh powder!  

Pack a thermos of hot cocoa, put on your woolies and you'll be set to explore winter's wonderland!! There is nothing more energizing and healing than Mother Nature; let her fresh air refresh your spirit and the magic of winters embrace fill your heart with joy!

 ...these snowflakes didn't fall all that way to NOT be played in!!

...these snowflakes didn't fall all that way to NOT be played in!!

4) Spread the Love

Be kind, always but extra during the holidays. Hold the door, smile, say "hello", "good-morning", and/or "happy holidays",  shovel the neighbors walk when you are out doing yours, donate to a worthy cause, advocate a worthy cause, make that call you've been putting off, give huuuuuuugs (cuz there isn't much that beats a big ol' warm hug!!)!!!

 ...volunteering at the Calgary Drop In Center, serving Christmas dinner to those in need of a warm meal and shelter from the cold  

...volunteering at the Calgary Drop In Center, serving Christmas dinner to those in need of a warm meal and shelter from the cold  

Little things go a long way, always but especially during this time of year. The more kindness and love we give, the more kindness and love we receive; keep the circle going.

See... told you this list was simple ;)

From my heart to yours, as we kick off December and the holiday season, I wish you all a mindful and truly magical experience this year.

Always with love & light,

Corey