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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

happy, happy holidays: come to saturday's soiree!

holiday gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. to an opponent, tolerance. to a friend, your heart. to a customer, service. to all, charity. to every child, a good example. to yourself, respect. -- oren arnold

the holidays are in full bloom: festive tunes play everywhere, lights are on display, and santa look-alikes welcome holiday shoppers. now is the perfect time to reflect on the reason for this special season, and to set an intention for the holidays. just as we start our yoga practice with an intention, start your holidays with one: think of a person or cause to send love to, ponder a quality you wish to cultivate, or an action you wish to take. rather than approaching the season with an exhausted list of to-dos, let this year be different. light a peppermint-scented candle, draw a bath full of epsom salts, and play some of your fave holiday tunes. take some time before the rush overcomes you to reflect on the year and honor this season of giving through these five holiday tips for tranquility:

1. write down your milestones from 2008 (ex. began journal writing, left an unhappy relationship, took up a yoga habit, set boundaries with family, found my core), and note what you’d like your milestones to be this time 2009 (ex. query letter sent to publishers, relocate, paid off retail therapy debt, new job in non-profit, cut out fast food). taking the time to reflect on where you are and how far you’ve come can have profound effects. we are growing each and every day.

2. give mindfully. has your best friend been dying to see a new exhibit at your local art gallery? give her a coupon for a complimentary afternoon on the date of her choice to peruse the exhibit, dine in a nearby café, and catch up with you. experiences last so much longer than yet another striped scarf and glove set. if you must give a gift, consider making one. pottery. knit. bead a necklace and earring set. cook up some bath salts. bake a pie. make a centerpiece. cut up a sweater into arm and legwarmers. pour homemade candles. paint a t-shirt with stencils and fabric paint. crochet a blanket. decoupage a flower pot. a journal with your favorite quotes. a jar filled with dry ingredients for your much-loved cocoa or cookie recipe.

3. give to yourself. take the time to decorate and relish in the festivities. even if you have a tiny studio apartment, buy a fresh wreath or rosemary tree to nurture your senses, simmer apple cider on the stove, and invite some of your friends over to sing carols, roast marshmallows, or watch an inspiring holiday flick. practice restorative yoga to replenish during the harried holidays. oh, and if you travel, drink plenty of water, take stretch breaks, load up on vitamin c, and allow ample time on the front and back end of the trip to recover before resuming your regular routine.

4. share your resources with others. there are many ways to volunteer and be of service during this sacred time of the year. what is close to your heart? you can sponsor a child or family for the holiday and buy a couple items to help make their day special through various local organizations. how about fostering a new dog or cat? what about becoming a big sister? or even donating some of your time to a local shelter such as house of ruth. visit a nursing home and watch their faces light up! bake cookies for the office. smile at a passenger on the metro.

5. go green. buy locally made goods. consolidate shopping trips. 2.65 billion holiday cards are sold in the us each year – choose recycled paper or make your own. get off catalog lists. choose led lights. decorate with soy or beeswax candles. use mish-matched plates and glasses over disposable ones. plant a tree for each gift you ship to offset your carbon footprint. use cloth napkins. make your tree decorations with popcorn, gingerbread, and candy cane. dine on organic, local food. give fair trade, sustainable gifts. choose recycled wrapping paper or use reusable bags.

cheers to living in the moment, connecting with loved ones, and relishing in the spirit of giving. here’s to the holidays! (picture a raised glass with a festive gold bow tied around the stem, filled with a delicious sparkling cranberry juice, topped off with a sliver of orange). i look forward to mingling off the mat with you at our annual holiday and trunk show soiree featuring local artisans this saturday, december 6 from 7-9pm.

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1 comment:

Joselle said...

I love these tips. Thank you for sharing them. I plan on baking most of my gifts this year. It's a great way to give something thoughtful that doesn't add to the world's clutter and it encourages me to carve out time to do something I enjoy doing but often don't have time for: making dessert from scratch!