Four Things On My List for a Feel-Good December

new_holiday_traditions

Happy December everyone! It’s hard to believe that we’re already a good part of the way through the month. In the past I’ve gotten swept up in the chaos of the season, but this year we’re trading in a few traditions for new ones that feel better. As I get older, it’s easier to see through the clutter and I feel more comfortable making choices that feel right for me. This season we’re cutting a few things out and replacing them with simple meaningful activities. The best part, most of them are totally free to do, and require just a small time commitment. Here are the four new things on my December calendar, which will hopefully become annual traditions:

1. Send Holiday Cards to the Troops

Chances are that you’re already sending holiday cards to friends and family. Add another card or two to your list and send to a service member to thank them for their service. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be away from home at any time of year, but the holiday season must be especially difficult. Popping a heartfelt note in the mail to send thanks and well wishes could have more of an impact than you know. Apologies to our friends and family, we’re skipping holiday cards altogether this year — in favor of sending a few cards to service members. At the moment A Million Thanks has reached capacity for holiday letters, but will begin accepting again starting on January 8, 2019. If you want to participate then, you can mail a card to:

A Million Thanks
17853 Santiago Boulevard, #107-355
Villa Park, CA 92861

The Red Cross also has a Holidays for Heroes program and you can contact your local branch to find out more. And on the topic of the Red Cross, the next item on my list is to…

blood_donation_red_cross
Donating this past summer.

2. Donate Blood

Donating blood to the Red Cross always makes my New Year’s resolution list. If you’re healthy, taking an hour out of your day every other month is an incredible gift to give. Right now there’s a severe shortage and an immediate need for blood donors, with thousands of hospital patients are anxiously awaiting donations. Imagine if it were you or a family member who was in need. If you need a little extra motivation, the Red Cross is also offering a $5 Amazon credit for those who donate through December 19th. My last appointment for the year is actually later today! Make an appointment here.

Field_House_Beverly_MA
Field House in Beverly, MA.
3. Support Small & Local Businesses

It’s incredible to support small and local businesses with your dollars by choosing to buy your holiday gifts with independent retailers. If that’s not an option for you, or if you’d like to do even more — another amazing way to offer support is through your social media influence. Taking the time to write a Facebook, Google, Trip Advisor or Yelp review takes just a few minutes and can have a big impact for small businesses. Another option is to share a brand or business that you love on your Facebook page, Instagram feed, blog, or other social media profiles.

switzerland_family_trip
My sister at our last family trip to Switzerland.
4. Trade in Gifts for Experiences (or skip them altogether)

I feel like we’ve all heard this one plenty of times, but this is the first year that we’re actually committing to it. My family is skipping gifts in favor of saving for a summer trip to Austria. We’re all feeling a lot calmer and happier this month – it’s honestly a huge positive change. Instead of running around shopping we have extra time to spend with each other and it feels like a weight’s been lifted. As a note: we don’t have any small children in our family, so it makes it a more realistic possibility for us.

Another thing that soars to the top of my list during this season is self-care. For me, it’s an hour in the cozy warm infrared sauna or a latte out with a friend. Do you have strategies for bringing it back to what matters during the busyness of the season? I’d love to hear about them! If one of the options from the list above resonates with you, I’d love to know that too!

Wishing everyone a beautiful and peaceful holiday season.

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