Getting in the Holiday Spirit by Setting New Intentions


The holidays is an especially good time to start a mindful practice for yourself and/or your family. It can be hard to start new traditions, especially as we are adult children ourselves and our parents have gotten used to a routine for so long. Sometimes, it’s important to start carving out space and activities that are more aligned with your own values and plans, so that you can start setting this intentional precedent. It’s okay to start small and incremental as that can also ensure that this new tradition is sustainable. Whether you live alone, with roommates, have children, or have tried to have children without them being earthside, find a way to practice self-love over the holiday season. It is a good way of ensuring that you are taking time to give yourself something you love, and it also helps us get through the cold, dark months that are on the horizon.

Take for instance, my family and personal rituals. Each year, my family of 4 has our own traditions over the month of December, and we also do things with family and loved ones.. This helps us set the stage for our children – both as a way to help them make memories and meaning of our traditions, and also because it’s a way to ensure that I also am experiencing joy – not just through my children but in my own way.

Some of the things we love to do are going to a tree farm to get our annual Solstice tree, making presents for ourselves and our neighbours for Solstice, making a gingerbread house, and pulling a thing to do from our daily Advent Calendar. We also mark each week that leads up to Christmas. We do it in a more holistic way than religious and it works for us, as it connects us back to our roots and to nature more generally.

Last year, i put together a worksheet to help us take care of ourselves over the holidays. You can do it anytime in December and into January. It’s called the 12 Days of Getting Mindful for the Holidays. Check it out here if you’d like to learn more about it. It’s for each and every one of us, as a tool to help us slow down and be about more mindful of the present in the presence (pun intended), and gives us some practice of simplicity. Sometimes the everyday grind of the holidays and the stress of things that keep us busy get in the way of the more easy feelings of joy, love and excitement. This list can help you s l o w down.

As I fully believe that it takes a village to raise children and get support, i have done some research to find other people’s great suggestions. I’m all for outsourcing for help when others have done the work, why reinvent the wheel right? So compiling this list fits the outsourcing in me. Here is a great list of suggestions – both for yourself and your family. It’s’ never too late to start a new tradition.

Babyccino Kids – Advent Calendar Ideas

7 Tips to Help you Beat Holiday Stress – Sarah Rosensweet shares some great suggestions to help your goals be more realistic.

Hyggemama – This post is a very helpful Hygge Guide for the holidays

Janet Lansbury shares fantastic tips as always here

My Kindness Calendar – a way to do something kind as a whole family

And She Moves just put together a 12 day advent for simple movvement exercises you can do in the luxury of your own home. If you sign up for her (great) newsletter, you can access it for free.

What are some things that you do as a family? Is there a go-to tradition you love to look forward to each year for yourself? If you don’t already have one, think of some ways you can create new traditions and memories starting this year – it’s never too late to start and to create a new positive mindset for this time of year. It can be hard for many of us, whether it is a trauma survivors, or if we have experienced loss or are struggling with sad feelings. It make it that much harder to do, and that much more rewarding when we can take control of our holidays and how we take care of ourselves.

New Moon Self-Care Series – Inner Child Letter

This month brings darkness mixed with celebration. It then doesn’t come as a surprise that this feelings get internalized in us. It’s a perfect time to turn inward intentionally and take care of the shadows and darkness that lingers in you.

As this is the final Fall New Moon Self-Care Series month, i wanted to give you a gift to yourself that is all about connecting to this new moon and planting a seed of future wisdom and self-compassion. This is a time to set an intention of a new path and time to get closure from last month.

This New Moon falls in a busy week – December 6 is the Montreal Massacre, December 7 is National Letter Writing Day and the New Moon in December. In a few weeks, we celebrate the Winter Solstice which is the longest night of the year. With this in mind, I’m hoping you can spend a few minutes this week in a letter you write to yourself.

As this month seems to be catered to the young and young at heart, it brings up hard feelings for us as adults, especially for those of us that have childhood traumas or more recent traumatic experiences in our life. The holiday season definitely comes with some hard/mixed feelings for a lot of us. Mothers especially need to balance their own needs while nurturing all the wishes and hopes of their wee ones.

So, this month, I’m encouraging you to write a letter to that Inner Child – that version of you that you want to recall or create. Whether they exist only in a memory or a hope, write a letter to that young version of yourself and what you hope for them to receive this month. Think about ideas that allow space for joy, happiness, surprise, eager excitement. You may not have these memories stored as real ones, and that’S okay. This is a time to recreate the memory you wished you had as well.

Steps to Intentional Journal Writing

1) Get into a cozy spot that allows you to writing uninterrupted for a about 10-20 minutes. Light a candle or incense for some mindful soothing smells. It’s now time to slow down a bit. Sit comfortably and chose a writing medium that shakes to you – it can be a journal or piece of paper and good writing pen.

One thing that may help you get in the best writing zone is to listen to a guided meditation on Inner Child work. I like this one a lot – thought it is longer and not just on Inner Child, she calls upon our inner council.

2) Take some deep cleansing breaths and then visualize yourself at a door. The door has some festive greenery and smells like a Pine forest. Knock on the door and see a young child answer. This is the young you. She is excited to see you and grabs your hand, pulling you inside. Once on the other side, you notice the room is covered in silks, trees and the space feels more like an enchanted forest than a room. Everything about it feels right and that it is where you belong.

Your Inner Child gives you a tour and asks you to sit and join her. She is ready for play and to celebrate this time of year with you. What is it that you are doing? What is it that she is excited to show you? Listen without judgement, vulnerability and shyness. You are eager to participate. Finish the visualization by thanking your Inner Child when it is time to leave. Give her a hug and walk back through the threshold.

3) Immediately after this, write a letter to this version of you. Thank her for the visit and time together. Think of words that are an extension of what you just did with her. Recount what she told you, and how you felt as you played with her. What is it that brought you joy, happiness and a youthful spirit? Do not stop to question it rationally or with a logical brain. Stay in the flow of emotional free writing. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling mistakes. Feel free to sketch or draw what you saw. It may be a fun further challenge to write this letter with your non-dominant hand. There is something cathartic about doing the exercise this way.

4) Finish the letter by signing it, and enclosing it in an envelope. Place it somewhere it can be seen by you so that you can give yourself the first gift of Winter – a moment to play and be joyfully present.

I believe that journaling can be a very therapeutic tool and a lot of struggle with it. This exercise is just a suggestion – if you don’t feel safe or ready to meet your Inner Child, feel free to journal about what you hope to do this winter. It is a great tool to plant seeds like this on a New Moon – especially as Winter begins later this month.