How do you create a joyous holiday? Does your family bring you joy? Do you bring joy to your family? The answer for most folks is probably yes…most of the time. LOL! OK…not a solid yes. The reality of today’s world is that we are so busy hustle and bustling to be ‘the picture of joyousness’, that we aren’t really thinking about what it means to bring joy or receive joy at a very personal level. After all, who has time when we are busy chasing the ‘aspiration of glowing warmth and perfection’ we see in media everywhere. In my opinion, holiday has become a mad scramble towards the goal of joyousness and away from life-changing joy.
Per Webster’s dictionary, the definition of joyous is ‘full
of happiness and joy.’ (Notice my emphasis on the word full.) If your family is like mine, you’ve had more than a few ‘spicy’ holiday moments of family drama, tears over the toy that didn’t arrive, disagreements over whose house the festivities will be at or who goes to whose house first in this day of splintered families. And who like me is generally exhausted by all the preparations before the big day arrives?
So, when I read that definition above…I ask myself, who has the time or the inclination to be all that joyous? It starts with breaking that big aspirational word down to just its simple root… joy.
What is joy?
According to Webster’s again, it is a feeling of great pleasure or happiness. (Aha…it’s not all about a whole season or even a day but can be just a moment in time.) How many of those moments do you have in a day? Do you know? Probably not, because the brain, unfortunately, gives priority to storing negative memories over those that are positive. To retain those positive moments, we need to move them into an experience, giving them vivid and heightened attention, admiring them, and sharing them to lock those memories in. And to be able to do that, we need to create those moments of joy with conscious determination. Because if we do that, not only will we have moments of joy to reflect upon, but we can also add them up for a truly memorable and joyous holiday season.
The joy of family is all about celebrating the small moments and doing so together. It’s not about the best gift, the biggest tree, or the most awesome decorations. It is about seeing each member of your family as a distinct person, a person that you could bring a smile to, a person you could listen to, a person who could bring a moment of joy to you too…if you took the time to stop and listen. We probably each have dozens of opportunities a day to do that and ignore most of them! Creating moments of joy with our family is not difficult. It’s not even that time-consuming. It just takes a little thought and commitment.
Remember that moments of joy can add up quickly into an amazingly joyous holiday season! Because the real joy of family is about being together.
Don’t know where to start?
Here’s 10 suggestions to create a joyous holiday with your family:
- Surprise everyone with a cup of cocoa to start or end their day.
- Stop the chores and suggest a walk together as a family.
- Share a funny joke, some silliness, or a laugh about something you did.
- Share how awesome something is that a family member did.
- Write a thank-you note and leave it on a family members pillow.
- Give a family member a hug…out of the blue!
- Share a fun family story from a past holiday.
- Give a big “HI!”, a cheer and a smile when a family member walks in the house.
- Tell someone what you love about them.
- And of course, get face to face and generate some laughter through play!
If you’re looking for more ways to add Joy to your whole year, take a look at our tips for making a Play Promise