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Each of us has time-honored traditions we hold dear during the holidays. Annual customs, festivities, and events we look forward to with family, friends, and colleagues. This season, I’m inviting you to add personal holiday rituals to your busy days. During what can be a challenging and somewhat sensitive time, personal holiday ritual is how I stay grounded, ensuring a heart filled with merry and delight, in spite of whatever is happening around me.
For decades I’ve stayed loyal to my secret holiday moments of soul nourishing, which are a gift unto themselves. Here are five ways you can cultivate meaningful personal holiday rituals of your own.
#1 Rituals For the Mind
For as long as I can remember, in early December of each year, I curl up each night with my hot cocoa and read the original 1843 version of A Christmas Carol. The experience brings me comfort and perspective and warms my heart with a sense of gratitude and wholeness. The theme of A Christmas Carol replenishes hopeful, determined, positive thoughts — the notion that every moment is filled with the possibility of transformation — and will leave you with a renewed sense of vigor headed into the new year.
#2 Rituals For the Body
Our health usually takes a bit of a bruising during the holiday season, as routine goes by the wayside and indulgence carries the day. I’m not one for strict rules during what should be a time of merriment, relaxation, and good cheer. To that end, there’s no need to beat yourself up about letting go of your regular health and fitness routine. Instead, incorporate personal rituals that rejuvenate your physical state — like a massage during the week between Christmas and New Year’s or an early morning gratitude walk or yoga practice on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve.
#3 Rituals for the Spirit
When I was a teenager, each Christmas Eve I would wait for everyone to go to bed and sneak downstairs, make myself a cup of tea, and sit in silence gazing at the tree lights. Silence is the most power elixir for the spirit. In silence you find yourself, connect to a higher power, and become awash in a feeling of being. As I got older, some years I would swap my tree tradition for a candle. Watching the flicker of a candle has the same calming effect and welcomes a state in which you become fully present. If you sit in silence long enough before bed, on any night during the holiday season, this state will flow into your days filling them with light-heartedness and ease.
#4 Nostalgic Rituals
Sometimes the best personal rituals are the ones that bring nostalgia. Those beautiful moments that transport you to another time and bring back all the comforting memories and sweet moments of years past. These rituals make your heart smile. For me that’s whipping up and enjoying my grandmother’s egg nog, reading the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clark Moore before bed on Christmas Eve, and baking cookies and leaving them for Santa. These rituals remind me that there is power in the unseen, in the forces that are eternal, and their magic will never fade as long as I keep them alive.
#5 Festive Rituals
The holidays are meant to be fun and evoke a sense of jolly, so one final personal holiday ritual I have is buying and wearing a special selection of holiday pajamas. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s you can find me in cozy, festive pj sets. Holiday pajamas are a simple way to add more pageantry to your holiday. ✨