Christmas music is playing in the stores, bright white and coloured lights snake through the trees in our neighbourhood, and baubles and bells and wreaths hang everywhere I turn. All of these things tell me it’s time to set an intention for the holidays.
Right now, I’m feeling swept up in the holiday spirit, excited about another season of celebrating family, of yearly traditions, of special moments with the kids. And yet…and yet…I also know the potential fatigue caused by a hectic holiday schedule, the opportunity for emotions to run high with relatives in close quarters for longer than usual, how challenging it can be to relax and savour the moments amidst the chaos that Christmas can sometimes be.
So, in advance of the holiday season, I like to set an intention for myself. It’s a way of pre-empting difficult situations, of reaffirming what I want Christmas to be about for me and my family, a touchstone of sorts to ensure a happy holidays.
An intention can be anything, really. You can set an intention to eat only at mealtimes and avoid the candy bowls scattered around your parents’ house (for the record, I gave up on that one a long time ago), or you can set an intention to simply be present. Whatever it is you feel you need more of this holiday season, set your intention and revisit it each day.
So, before I tackle my shopping list and untangle our Christmas tree lights, I’m going to sit down and envision what I’d like the holidays to be, and set my intention accordingly.
Will you join me?
And if you need any more tips on keeping calm at Christmas, here are some Yoga Tips for A Happy Holiday.
My six-year-old daughter, Lizzie, is curious. About everything. What does that say, mummy? Why? How does that work? Why did they do that? How did they do that? This past Sunday, we were walking back to the car after seeing Pinkalicious, the Musical, in Guelph (lots of fun, by the way) when we passed a memorial for veterans. Lizzie paused. The pinkatastic chatter stopped. “Mummy, there are poppies and wreaths. Is this statue for the soldiers?” “Yes,” I replied. “Can you read the words to me?” she asked.
So, we stood in the cold and I read out loud the engraved words. I read the poem Flanders Fields. We talked about the wars and which ones my grandparents and her daddy’s grandparents had fought in. She read out loud the dates of World War I, of World War II and the Korean War. We talked about wreaths. And poppies. And the importance of remembering.
She never met my grandad, whose stories from World War II and Dieppe came out after his death many years later. I never met my great grandfather, who fought in the trenches in World War I and avoided a piece of shrapnel piercing his heart because of a well-made button that served as a shield. But my grandad’s letters, diaries and medals from World War II are on display at my parent’s house. And the button that saved my great grandfather and the piece of shrapnel that bounced off the button into his leg adorn a leather box that contains his medals and some letters from World War I. She knows all of this.
Next to the statue was a wall of names.
“Mummy, are those names of people who died in the wars?”
“Yes. People from this area.”
“So many people died, mummy. That’s so many people.”
“Yes, honey, a lot of people fought in the wars, and many of them died. That is why we remember them.”
“I don’t like war, mummy.”
Out of the mouths of babes. Lest we forget.
Find even more ways to teach your kids about the meaning of Remembrance Day here.