Aw, Christmas … that most wonderful time of the year you’ve been looking forward to all year.

The festive social gatherings, the lighting festivities, the gifts to those you love and appreciate, and … the family time.

Family time can be wonderful … until it’s not.

Holiday gatherings with people you may not see all the time is not always relaxing and enjoyable, but can in fact be full of stress, awkwardness, and maybe even conflict.

You just want to enjoy this Christmas and have some peaceful and joyful celebrating.

Maybe it’s even your Christmas wish.

Honestly, sometimes Christmas takes more intentional purpose amidst the chaos to make sure you focus on the family and not the friction.

I’ve have not missed that many of you may wish you had some family to spend Christmas with, but they are either not with you anymore or are too far away.

Your clarity, intention, and purpose will never be more important if Christmas is not the way you would love it to be.

Here are some ways you can set some intention to create a Christmas of purpose amidst the chaos:

Think ahead of time of how you want to show up.  How do you want to be present in the moment? I often use the frame of the doorway of the home I am entering, or room I am entering, to remind myself to be who I want to be in the middle of where I am.  Do I want to focus in on a specific relationship?  Do I want to “be” in a particular way?  What do I want to focus on?

Find your clarity.  Identifying how you want to show up or who you want to be helps you find your clarity and makes it much easier to let other things go.   It helps you let go of all the other stuff, and be all in right where you are.  The history doesn’t matter, but right now does.

Think of how you want to leave your time together.  I don’t think we plan on responding to frustration, strained relationships, or others comments or responses in a negative way … but before we know it, we seem to be there.  Planning ahead of how you want to leave helps you be there better.  What is the impact or influence you want to leave?  What do you want said of you after you leave, or who do you want to be remembered as?  This helps you keep your eyes (and reactions) forward thinking and not in a heated moment.

Put it in perspective.  What if the person that brings the chaos, hurt, or distance, is doing the best they could do in the moment?  Would that change how you respond to them?  I had it said to me once (after serving a very rude customer) that we never know what the other person has just walked away from.  I know this one to be true after living in a hurtful and abusive relationship where I kept my real life at home hidden from those outside the home.  I was keeping the “lid on” as they say.  Those you are not enjoying in the moment could have had some really tough time lately that they are not sharing with you, are maybe struggling with a diagnosis, or hardship they are not ready to open up about.  If you knew that, would it change your response?  

Remember where your responses come from.  How we respond comes out of our thoughts and emotions, that are frankly rarely accurate. Our emotions impact our thoughts, which lead to our decision, which determine our behaviour, and then give us our response. The great news? That can all be changed with an awareness and change in what we are listening to, and therefore responding to.  Yup, it can all be changed.  That doesn’t change how frustrating, overwhelming, or hurtful some relationships and busy times make you feel, but it does give perspective and tools to show up as your best and be the women you want to be.

What’s your goal this Christmas?

How do you want to show up and lean in?

What impact and influence do you want to leave?

It begins with the clarity and ends in the purpose.

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