The month of December is often characterized by the busyness of gifting, dinner parties, and other celebrations. And so often we fall victim to the trend of filling our schedules and neglecting the essential spirit of the holidays: peace and blessings.

One way to emphasize this season is to embrace holiday traditions. Whether that’s going to see Christmas lights with your family, constructing an advent calendar with your children, or caroling in the neighborhood, be intentional in selecting a tradition that emphasizes family interaction.

Another opportunity to cherish the Christmas season can be found by being generous to those around you. While gifting of friends and family is important, this time is also valuable for gifting those whom you appreciate in your day to day life. Whether that’s one of your children’s teachers or a respectable coworker, now is the perfect time to express your immense gratitude for the positive influence that they have made in your life.

It is also important to be generous in holiday tipping for those who are in the service industry. This includes but is not limited to housekeepers, babysitters, mail carriers, and even hair stylists. In doing so, keep in mind just how much these individuals do for you in a year and make your goal to make them feel appreciated.

While it is obviously imperative to celebrate those around you with gifts, don’t let this responsibility become an overwhelming stressor. It is just as critical to set aside time to relax and value time with loved ones. With that being said, avoid cramming your schedule with numerous Christmas parties. Instead only RSVP for one or two of the festivities and allow for time with your family to simply watch Christmas movies or bake holiday treats. Simple activities with those you care about will make for far better memories than ones created at big parties. Slow down and cherish this sweet time.

Lastly, make every effort to be polite and courteous to everyone you come in contact with. Whether it is out shopping for gifts or at a holiday party with lots of guests, help radiate Christmas cheer by presenting yourself in a joyous and merry manner.

Merry Christmas!