This time of year, the air is full of a tingling holiday buzz. Pie plates and gravy boats are dusted off. There’s a last-minute scramble to call my mom for a recipe. In Denver, the heat clicks on in the mornings and evenings while we scavenge wool socks from the closet.

But, this time of year also means most of my weekends are filled: Annual Turkey Bowl Game, hosting Thanksgiving Day Dinner, Christmas tree chopping, holiday parties, family Christmas in Iowa, New Year’s Eve in Austin… and the list goes on

November is nearly over. December will be a blur. Suddenly, 2020 is here. I don’t want to fill my calendar and make it to January just to be exhausted. Being present during the hustle and bustle of the holidays can be hard. I want to celebrate with parties and get-togethers full of life and joy.

 

Here are 4 ways to infuse festivities with a posture toward intentionality and connection:

1)    Create space to ask questions. Gather a mix of fun, deep, and festive questions from your guests on slips of paper. Take a few minutes while eating, or in between dinner and dessert, and go around the room. Pick a question and answer it. It’s an easy, yet intentional way to connect with old friends and new faces.

2)    Gifting with meaning. Donate in someone’s name to a charity, cause, or organization. It’s a unique gift that gives back. When gift buying be intentional about purchases. Buy gifts that promote ethical practices, are sustainably made, or from a local maker or shop.

3)    Invite more people. Most of my childhood, I grew up with only my family in our home for the holidays. Getting older, I’ve realized the injustice of loneliness. Sharing a holiday and family moments with others could feel like a sacrifice. Yet, it’s truly a gift for those away from home or who don’t have one to go to.

4)    Be the last one to leave. Practicing the art of lingering can be challenging. Choose to stay a little longer. Ask one more question or hear one more story. It becomes less about rushing to keep time and more about sharing the time we have. Linger with those you love the most.

 

For most of us, it’s a struggle to be present while conquering our never-ending to-do lists–especially when it comes to the holidays. We can, however, make small intentional choices. In all our festivities, may we let our holidays mean a little more by enjoying the company around us. The memories of being present, right where our feet are, will be the ones we take with us. Long after gifts have been exchanged and leftovers eaten.

 

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