8 Things To Do This Holiday Season To Remember What Really Matters

As we officially slide into the second week of December, holiday madness is upon us at last. It's lovely that we close out the year with so much celebration and joy, but add to that the manic consumerism and our tendency to disregard the actual (and terrible) problems going on in the world beyond us, and sometimes we have to just have a little reality check about it.

There's a way to be grounded about the holidays without becoming a scrooge, and it's important that we strike that balance. After all, we do not need any more negativity funneled into these stressful weeks, we just need to take a step back and remember what really matters. For example, while it may bolster the ego to be able to afford a lavish gift for someone you only see twice a year, perhaps that money may better go toward something wonderful for someone you actually see all the time. The point, of course, is that we need to remind ourselves how easy it is to slip into ego and greed and a desire to be affirmed (very often, that is what the act of giving devolves into!).

So here are a few little things you can do this holiday season to re-ground yourself, and hopefully create a more meaningful experience for yourself as well as everyone you celebrate with (even if it's just your cat!) The season, after all, is only what we make it.

Ask People What They Got For The Holidays Last Year

Most of the time, they won't even be able to remember. Keep that in mind while maxing out your credit card and stressing out over what to get.

Ask People What The Best Thing They Ever Received Was

You will always find that it is not a new phone, or cool clothes, or a fancy gadget, but a loved one's miraculous recovery, or a special meal with a grandparent, or a gift that was so simple and thoughtful and *them* that they couldn't believe someone would go out of their way to pick it out.

Focus The Majority Of Your Time, Attention And Funding Toward Buying Thoughtful Gifts For People Who Are In Your Everyday Life

It's so easy to just bypass them in favor of those we have to impress (but rarely see, or talk to). While we can of course be polite and get cards and kind gestures on these holidays, we must first and foremost focus on the people who are there through it all, not who we have to impress.

Try To Do Something For Each One Of Those People That Doesn't Cost Anything

It's the best way to prove to yourself that money really doesn't matter. (No — seriously.)

Volunteer For A Morning

Deliver meals to people on Christmas, donate toys, anything little thing that can make all the difference. It will put everything in perspective, and there are more than enough opportunities to lend a hand.

Stick To A Strict No-Phone Policy — Especially At The Table

Respect the people around you enough to not imply that your newsfeed is more compelling than them sitting right in front of you.

Stop Taking On Your Ignorant Relatives Like A Crusade It's Your Job To Correct

Are they misinformed? Yeah. Probably. Are they ignorant? Likely. Is it infuriating? Definitely. Is it your job to change them, especially over a holiday meal? NOPE. And what's more is that they likely won't listen to you even if you try (or worse — as many people know). It is only your job to learn to sip some more wine, complain to your most trustworthy friends, and let it go. It's not that the battle isn't noble, it's that it's not yours to fight.

Reflect On Your Year

Think and even talk about what you're proud of, what you regret, what you plan to do better next year and what you hope you've learned from in this one. Meaning is wherever we assign it — and there's no better time to cozy up and think about how far you've come.

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