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Creating Successful Leaders

Piggybacking on last week’s post on thankfulness during the holiday bustle, this week I want to talk about being intentional this season. By that, I mean you should decide ahead of time what you and your family truly love about the holidays and make a point to make your traditions, activities, or parties truly count.

There are three great ways to accomplish this:

1. Limit your holidays to a few simple, yet meaningful activities. Perhaps this means you sit down with the family and decide on a list of things everyone loves about the season. Focus on activities that encourage community and bonding. And keep it simple!

2. Say no! This is a really just an extension of the first point. There are countless Christmas brunches, holiday parties, caroling groups, baking sessions and extended family reunions to attend. Remember: you are not obligated to do it all, nor should you! If you feel that you’re in over your head this season, it’s a good sign that you have over-committed yourself. I’ve found that my holidays are much worse when I’m too active; things become more about getting everything done and making every gathering on time, and less about the joy in baking, or the pleasure in reuniting with old friends or extended family.

3. Be adaptable. Many people fall into the “trap of tradition” during their holidays. I’m not saying that tradition is bad; in fact, I love having traditions! The “trap” I’m talking about refers to people who feel that they must recreate the same Christmas or Hanukkah year after year, and that if they don’t, they’ve somehow failed. Remember: every tradition started when a person thought of a new way to celebrate. Feel free to wander off the path of tradition, and embrace the inevitable hiccups or botched plans that are bound to occur in the midst of the hectic holidays. Who knows, maybe a so-called “botched” old tradition will become your most memorable new tradition!

This holiday season, don’t stretch yourself too thin.  Be intentional; be thoughtful.  Focus on what really matters: friends, family, and communion. All your holiday activities–baking cookies, decorating the tree, planning a family gathering, or even shopping–are all meant to enrich your relationships with those around you, and the activities themselves are meaningless without this dynamic.

Keep in mind that your holidays don’t have to be “just right”! If you’re surrounded by loved ones and engaged in what you love to do, then your holidays are exactly as they should be.



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