Rituals vs. Checklists
It was Halloween when we walked through my brother’s neighborhood as the light slowly faded and the stars began to appear. On almost every house were permanently added LED lights that could change colors for any season or event making the whole street a festive place for any holiday.
As soon as I heard about these lights I didn’t like them. I hated the idea of them. But it took me a while to realize just why this idea bothered me so much.
When it comes to the Christmas season or any season, I love the ritual. The days after Thanksgiving are made for going and buying a real tree from a local vendor. We listen to Christmas music as we drive too and from the holiday shopping and then have Christmas movies playing while we decorate the house. Even the outside lights have become a part of our yearly tradition, taking the time to make our house look especially magical for the darkest month of the year.
To me, the ritual is the most important part of the season.
The rituals are what ground us and bring us to the present moment. It’s where the magic lies. The idea of just checking things off the list to feel like Christmas and look like a Hallmark movie misses the whole point of the ritual.
I’m not saying that everyone has to put up Christmas lights to get the full feel of the season. But it begs the question of what areas on this season are we just checking off our list to make it Instagram worthy, and what areas are we truly being present to the magic of the season?
This season can easily be a time of magic and wonder or it can be a stressful time you just want to get through. The present buying alone could make a woman go mad! So how can you turn your checklist into season rituals? Where can you add more intention to your season so that you fully feel the peace and light that this time of year has to offer you?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Read an advent book that has a small passage to ground you each morning. This year I’m reading Honest Advent from Scott Erickson and highly recommend it.
- List something you’re grateful for every time you walk by your Christmas tree
- Bake cookies with the family and take them to a neighbor. Let go of the need for them to be perfect and instead see what creativity comes to life when you let go and be present.
- Have a Christmas movie night next to your tree with popcorn, hot chocolate, and lots of comfy blankets.
- Hand write a few Christmas cards to friends you haven’t spoken to in a while, or family that won’t get to see you during the Holidays.
- Go for a Christmas light drive with a hot drink and your favorite Christmas tunes as you simply explore the neighborhoods around you.
- Attend a Christmas Maker’s Market to get inspired by their creations and maybe even check off a few gifts you wanted to give this year.
While the darkest month of the year, the Christmas story reminds us that there is still light to be found. We just have to be on the lookout for it.
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