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Ten Tips for Mid-Season Holiday Change

By Maureen Killoran

1.Do some research and find a congenial spiritual service somewhere near you, whether it's a church or synagogue, or one of the many alternative spiritual communities that abound today. Write it on your calendar now. Go with your family, go with friends -- or go alone -- but open your heart, and GO. (When I was serving a Unitarian church, I was delighted to greet dozens of strangers on Christmas Eve -- with absolutely no strings or expectations of future attendance attached!)

2.Speaking of your Calendar, take it out now and review the commitments you have between now and the end of the year. Which ones can you change??? Pick at least two items that are "should's" and (take a deep breath) CANCEL THEM today.

3.Start a Holiday Gratitude Journal -- every evening write down three things you noticed that day -- things that connected you with the deeper meanings of The Holidays.

4.SMILE and take 30 seconds to make contact with harried holiday clerks. Go beyond the ubiquitous "Happy Holidays" and say something that acknowledges that you see them as human beings. YOU'LL feel better, and chances are, you'll make their day.

5.Take time -- I'm only asking for 5 minutes, so don't throw up your hands -- Take time each day, just to BE. Breathe. Breathe again. (Hey, you're doing it!) Don't make a list, don't beat yourself up for what's undone. For a whole five minutes today and every day -- JUST BE. You're in good company. Give a hug -- to YOU.

6.Do you make a huge holiday meal? Review your menu and find three ways to SIMPLIFY IT. Plain steamed veggies with almonds and melted butter look great and are better for you than creamed onions anyway!! Bakeries make excellent desserts, and you're supporting a local business (remember to order ahead).

7.And while we're talking about food -- If you're giving a party, SIMPLIFY those munchies, and make your beverage menu easier to take. We all overeat at the holidays. Trust me, your guests will thank you for light options -- and it's easier on YOU, too.

8.Even EASIER -- some of my favorite holiday memories involve Pot Luck Munchie Parties -- everyone brings a finger food appetizer. You provide chips'n'beverages only. This works no matter what your age or economic status...sharing food is one of THE best ice breakers you can have for a crowd.

9.Wrapping gifts? Remember that holiday gift wraps end up as recycling at best...SIMPLIFY. Use the paper that makes you feel good, and whatever level of wrapping elegance you usually achieve, CUT BACK ONE LEVEL. (Yes, I realize for some of us that leaves us giving gifts in a carefully folded paper bag!)

10.Do something for somebody you don't know. Give a gift certificate anonymously. Drop a bag of (nonperishable) groceries at somebody's door. Buy toys or clothes for the kids whose names show up on the holiday trees. You don't have to share their values. You don't have to get any credit. Just give something tangible to somebody you don't know. And know that the world is a little better today because of you.

About The Author
(c) Maureen Killoran, 2005

Maureen Killoran, MA, DMin, is a Life Coach and Unitarian minister who specializes in liberating people's strengths, values and passion. Don't miss Maureen's great new coaching toolkit, "Yes YOU Can!!!" -- a selection of her absolutely best coaching tools to encourage your path of personal and spiritual growth. And for ongoing connection and monthly inspiration subscribe to Maureen's free e-zine, Seeds of Change.

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