At this time of year, my Muse begins to get a little squirrely. The holidays loom, a season laden with expectations and traditions that I don’t necessarily want to participate in. With tradition and obligation on the horizon, my Muse often wants to rebel and go her own way. If your creative self feels restricted by holiday expectations, try something different this year. Let your Muse lead the way in your holiday decisions.
When considering your plans for the holidays, be creative. Here are ten ways to be proactive this season, so you and your creativity can thrive even at holiday time.
1. Big picture Start by considering what kind of holidays you want this year. Think of an adjective to describe how you want to feel. Peaceful? Grateful? Connected? Make some notes about your intention. From that intention you can look at the following ways to enjoy your holidays with your Muse leading the way.
2. Food Don’t go like a zombie toward foods you don’t really want just because they’re ‘holiday treats’. If you don’t really like the cranberry sauce or the sugar cookies, choose what you do like. Take traditional foods and tweak them to make them more healthful or reflective of your tastes and/or local produce. Set an intention for how you want to eat (mindfully, with gusto, only foods you really want…)
3. Friends How do you want to connect with your friends? I most enjoy the holiday season for the time I spend with friends reflecting on how we’ve enriched each other over the year. My friends are one of my biggest gifts and when we get together during the holidays, I make sure to acknowledge the impact they’ve had on me and thank them. Jot down the names of friends you really want to connect with and make plans that are meaningful to both of you.
4. Family Holiday family gatherings can bring a sense of obligation and even dread. Try looking to the characteristics you get from your family that you are proud of and that serve you in your life and creativity. Make a list and then thank your family members for giving you these gifts. Focus on what you love, not how your dad drives you crazy with his TV watching.
5. Gift giving While I love giving gifts, I hate the obligation to give that accompanies the holidays. I prefer my gift giving to be more spontaneous and based on finding the perfect gift and matching it with the giver. What’s true for you and gift giving? Take time to consider what you really want to give. It may not be the old standbys!
6. Assess the year The end of the year provides a natural marker for reflecting on your year. Spend some time considering your wins, your disappointments, your insights. I’ll post a worksheet on the blog later this month to help you assess your year so next year can be even better.
7. Money Get real with your finances. How much do you want to spend? Many people get in financial trouble because they spend from their heart and not their bank account. Take a look at how much money do you have to spend on gifts and holiday hoo-haw and then determine where you’ll allocate your funds.
8. Creative time Time seems more crunched than ever during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you have to let your Muse languish. Try to maintain even the thinnest thread of connection to your projects. Time spent with your Muse will provide fuel for your other activities.
9. Treats The holidays provide a great time to indulge. Rather than mindlessly taking in anything that appears as a treat, consider what’s truly a treat for you. What’s a treat you can give yourself? A piece of pie with extra whipped cream? A visit to the massage therapist or local museum? I treat myself with time in the bookstore or in my favorite shop, Two Hands Paperie in Boulder. I don’t necessarily spend money, but I gain inspiration from the beautiful books and paper products.
10. Celebrate The holidays are meant to be a time to celebrate but that intention can get lost in the rampant commercialism and sense of obligation that looms. What’s one thing you want to celebrate this year?
How are you expressing your creativity this holiday season? Drop a comment below to share your Muse’s inspiration.
This article is part of my year-long series of top ten lists to celebrate ten years in business at Original Impulse. Stay tuned until the end of the year when I bring all the articles together in one place for your creative enhancement. Subscribe to Impulses for free.