Gift of Presence

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays in full swing, it’s hard not to be in a constant state of motion. All the grab bag giving, feast preparing, party going, is festive and fun, but can be even better when we remember to be fully present in these special moments.

With all my family home for the holidays this year, I’m consciously working to honor our time together by giving myself the gift of being present. I truly believe it is one of the greatest gifts we can give to each other, and ourselves.

Here’s how I’m planning to stay grounded in all the season’s special moments.

Back away from the cell phone – It’s oh so tempting to see what everyone else is up to via social media, or get sucked into a Googling spiral on the origins of wassailing and suddenly chunks of time have disappeared. Checking our phones can be mindless, habitual and steals our presence. So rather than carrying my phone around the house with all too easy access, I’ll be stashing it out of the way and, mostly, out of mind.

Lend a hand – A great way to remain present is to pitch in. Whether it’s helping to wrap last minute gifts, taking my nieces to the park to expel some energy or getting busy in the kitchen with Mom, small gestures of service fill me with gratitude and keep me focused and present on the task, and person, at hand.

Personally connect – When we’re surrounded by ALL our family, friends, relatives, it can be hard to personally connect with everyone. Rather than slipping into a food comma on the couch watching the Christmas Story marathon with my siblings or in-laws, I’ll be making time to connect with each of my family members. A simple 10 minutes is enough to see what’s new in their world, how they’re planning to spend NYE or what they are hoping to achieve in 2017, helping ground us all in the present holiday moment.

Mini time-outs – It may seem counter intuitive, but if I’m feeling overwhelmed or in need of a break, I give myself permission to have a self-selected time out. 15-30 minutes of quiet behind a closed door to rest my eyes, meditate, or read a chapter or two can be a wonderful way to reset. When I reemerge, I’m back to being fully focused on those around me.

The holidays are packed with warmth and joy when we are fully present to enjoy each moment. As you head home for the holidays, or find time to connect with whomever you love at this magical time of year, give the gift of being present. The memories will last a lifetime.