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Embrace the Sparkle: Lightening Up Your Holiday Season

Updated: Mar 18

'Tis the season, a whirlwind of BOTH:

Magic AND Exhaustion,

Coziness AND Demands,

Joy AND Melancholy,

Peace AND Chaos,

Connection AND Loneliness.

In this festive paradox, acknowledging both the dark and the light and that you are not alone in these feelings is the first step to feeling lighter and more positive. The goal isn’t to eliminate negativity but to note and amplify the positives, creating a snowball effect of joy.

Have you seen the trend of 'glimmers' on social media? These are the antidotes to triggers—moments that bring peace and spark joy. Let's call them sparkles— small moments in your day, that when noticed begin to accumulate. Harness these sparkles during the holidays for special family activities and traditions to lean into those positive emotions.

Here are a few simple activities that incorporate noticing sparkles during the holidays:

Family Game Plan:

You don't have to do everything during the holidays. Prioritize what truly brings joy to you and your family. Hold a family meeting to discover everyone's likes and dislikes during the holidays. The answers might surprise you! Create a Game Plan to prioritize activities your family genuinely enjoys, and make a 'To Don't' list to give yourself permission not to do certain things. Pro tip: revisit this exercise after the holidays to refine your approach for next year! ✨

Love & Thanks Hub:

Establish a space for family members to share notes of appreciation. Sticky notes on the fridge, notes on the Christmas tree, or hidden in stockings—all contribute to fostering love and appreciation throughout the season and beyond.

Voice of Gratitude:

A daily gratitude practice is my favorite recommendation for a daily anchor because it can happen quickly anytime of day. Instead of journaling, try expressing gratitude aloud to yourself, friends, family, neighbors or even strangers. Your words are powerful, creating a positive ripple effect, especially during this busy time of year.

Set an Empowering Mantra:

I love Michael Gervais' recent book The First Rule of Mastery. In it, he introduces the term FOPO (Fear of People’s Opinions), a sentiment that often intensifies during the holiday season. Choose a mantra to practice letting go of FOPO; my favorite is “I GET to choose MY JOY, regardless of others’ opinions.” If you want to cultivate a positive mindset, consider mantras like 'I get to choose my sparkles!', 'See the Glimmers!', or 'Gratitude can be found everywhere.' Write your chosen mantra where you'll see it daily, such as on your mirror or as your phone background.

Annual Favorite Thing Ornament:

Start a tradition of gifting ornaments related to current interests. As these positive memories accumulate, you'll create a meaningful timeline to enjoy as the years go by. Don’t worry about when you start this tradition, in 10 years you’ll be happy you started today!

For More Sparkly Ideas:

Explore my featured activities (Ornament Time Capsules & ‘Jar of Awesome’) in Martha Stewart Online’s 31 Days of Christmas Activities to Make Your December Even More Festive.

These activities aren’t just for making this holiday season feel lighter; they're gifts to your future self. Share your thoughts and experiences below or tag @lightfiftysix on Instagram. Embrace the sparkles, and may your holidays be filled with joy, love and light!

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