It's "that time of year" again and the holiday that most of us treasure is sneaking up on us. Does anyone else feel that they look forward to Christmas all year long and then it comes and goes before you know it?
Christmas is 15 days away ... it is the perfect time to do the 12 Days of Christmas Purpose! (cue the music ...)
Christmas is a season of hope, love, and joy. A time to rejoice and celebrate. And definitely a time to know why you are celebrating and to do it with purpose and intention.
I thought it would be a great time to share some helpful tips on how to make sure you are living with purpose and intention this holiday season. Christmas is a time to build relationships, create memories, and share our love with others.
The 12 Days of Christmas Purpose
Know your Christmas why.
What is it that is most important to you at Christmas?
What is your reason for celebrating?
Do you know why you want to do the things you want to do over the holidays?
Once you clarify your holiday why you can set intention and purpose to it. Maybe it is family traditions that build treasured memories, or to help others that are in a vulnerable spot have a safe, healthy and blessed Christmas. Maybe it is time spent together as family, or families together. When you clarify what is most important you can set some very clear intentions, and let go of what needs to be let go of. If spending time with your children, and maybe their children as well, is the most important ... then let go of where that celebration happens and put the priority where it should be. Go to them if need be, rather than stressing on why they aren't coming to you.
Know what traditions mean the most to you, your family and your friends.
Take some time to communicate and identify what is most important and what traditions you want to continue or create. It is so easy to get busy very quickly and run out of time before you know it. You may enjoy the same traditions each year and knowing what to plan for, or maybe your family enjoys spontaneity and creativity. If you talk about it beforehand you will know how to plan. This year it didn't seem that it would work out to repeat a favourite trip of ours to an annual event close by, and I dropped the ball thinking no one would really like to go. I planned on being last minute and going if we both felt up to it. After a last minute call from my daughter that she was "on her way" I quickly got ready and was so glad we went! I would have missed this beautiful evening of a First Light. Lesson learned!
Know what brings joy at Christmas.
We are each created uniquely and what brings joy to you is not the same thing necessarily that will bring joy to your neighbour, or friends. Christmas is a time to love with authenticity and to be clear on joy. I am not referring to "do what you like because you are you" but rather to be authentic in how you bring joy to others and how to celebrate. If you enjoy Christmas carolling but your family doesn't, it won't be a special time for any of you. Christmas reminds us of the sacrificial love and is a time to celebrate ... make sure you are clear on what the celebration looks like to those around you and use your unique personal qualities to bring joy to others. If making a gingerbread house is not a favourite, maybe watching Christmas movies, or some intentional acts of love to shut-in seniors would be a way to share joy. We enjoy having neighbours over and look forward to serving in a soup kitchen this coming Sunday. Don't try and do what everyone else is doing, you will just burn yourself out. Choose well and share love in the ways you were created to express.
Take the time to do what is most important to you.
Take the time to do what is most important to you in this season. That sounds counterproductive to the reason for the season but it really isn't. I believe Christmas is a very intentional celebration and not one we want to just rush through. If I am so busy "doing" and spend no time "being" then I have lost the worship and reflection aspect of Christmas that I treasure and want to keep a priority.
Have a plan.
Just like every day, if you don't have a plan you will end up just reacting to what comes before you instead of living intentionally. We get to choose how we will respond daily. I am sure you have felt it, that rushing around and just trying to accomplish all those things that you feel like you need to do but don't know how you will. You need a plan. To live with purpose and intention we need to have taken the time to plan. It's great that you still have 3 days before the 12 days before Christmas really begins! Set your plan.
Spread the love.
Since Christmas is a season of love, how are you loving this season? I will admit that one of my favourite parts is to take the time and thought to purchasing something that I know someone I care about will love. I know it is not about the gifts ... but sometimes it is. I remember telling my kids that when they were younger, "it's not about the gifts!", yet everywhere we went they were given gifts ... from friends at school, to neighbours that were like grandparents to them, to family ... every family gathering ... from everyone. Although that message was hard to be authentic about, I truly hope they got the message that you give gifts because you love. There are many other ways that you can spread the love of the season and that is by sacrificially doing something for others, especially for those that you need to go out of your way for or that would not otherwise experience the love.
Pay it forward.
Have you ever done anything for the sole purpose of just paying it forward? How about paying for a stranger's coffee/meal at the Tim's drive through? You should try it ... it is fun! Paying it forward, doing something for someone who you probably don't know, simply because someone did it for you, is a great way to show love this Christmas. Maybe when you were younger your family was struggling and you weren't going to have a Christmas, and now you are intentional to give to another family. Or maybe you invite another family over that wouldn't have a turkey dinner, or don't have friends or family around. Whatever the reason, find something you are thankful for, or that someone did for you, and do it for someone else. We didn't deserve the free love we received by the gift of Jesus at Christmas, so let's pay the love forward.
Keep the main thing the main thing.
This is a great, and very important, purpose to be intentional about at Christmas. Let the little things go this Christmas. Keep the relationships and reason you are doing what is important the main thing. Visit with neighbours you haven't seen for awhile even though it may not be a convenient date, don't have expectations that don't mean anything to those you expect it from, don't stress about where a celebration is but rather keep it about the people you are celebrating from. What do you want to be remembered by, or what legacy do you want to leave? What influence do you want to have? The children will not remember that the napkins matched or that the plates had colour coded vegetables on them (some of you know exactly what I am talking about here, and trust me, I am preaching to the choir!), but they will remember the love and the relationships that were built. They will remember the why more than the what. Keep the why front and center.
Is your celebrating authentic?
Do you know why you celebrate? Does your celebrating reflect your core values and passions? It is so easy to get wrapped up in the busyness and activities of the season and forget why you are doing any of it. I get it ... it is fun, exhilarating, and often times very nostalgic. But if family time is one of your core values but you are too busy working and attending parties with friends etc., then your celebrating is not authentic. That is why no. 1 is so important. When we have taken the time to clarify our why then we have the clarity and confidence in acting on that purpose authentically. We can't do it all, no one can, so be wise and get the clarity to be authentic.
This one may be a repeat for some of you, but it is a good one. I heard it said on a podcast that Brendon Burchard was on that he uses a door from as a trigger to help him set intention. I have not forgotten this amazing reminder and use it constantly. Whatever situation or circumstance you are walking into, use the door frame as a trigger to remember to ask yourself "what do I want to be intentional about in this situation?" This practice has helped me to focus on just that meeting, or get together, and to forget about the past and future. So for example, if you are heading into a social situation that can be difficult, ask yourself what do you want to be intentional about while you are there? When I narrow down my intention I forget all the history and the concerns or worry about the future with the person or group and focus in on who I want to be in the next hour or so ... it works, it truly does.
Do others know your purpose by how you love, serve, and celebrate Christmas?
Combining our purpose and our authenticity, when others can see our values and passions by how we live our lives, how we love others, and serve ... that is living our purpose. That is when it all comes together. When others observe you and your actions, could they state what is most important to you? When we are not living our purpose, there is a disconnect. There is a feeling that we need to do this or that ... we are usually people pleasing. But to live our purpose means that we choose to do those things that reflect who we were made to be, and others can see it. You were not created to be anyone else but you. You were created to live your purpose ... and that is where the true worship comes in.
Here we are at Christmas Day. You have clarified your why, determined your purpose, and set a plan to be authentic. Live the next few days very intentionally. Know why you are doing what you are doing, because it is living our what is most important to you, what is uniquely you in the way you were made to be. This is where the saying "you have one chance at today, one chance!" comes in. What influence do you want to have? What memories do you want to leave? How do you want to love those around you? Be that woman, and do it boldly and with confidence. If you want to live in gratitude then live the best version of who you were made to be.
I hope these 12 days of Christmas purpose has encouraged you to reflect the reason of celebrating this season ... the hope, love, and joy that was freely given. Be your best self, intentionally and with purpose. Have your eyes and ears open to how you can pay if forward this season and live with grateful passion.
About Janice Stone
Janice Stone is a Professional Certified Life Coach (PCLC).