Even for those of us who are looking forward to big celebrations with our loved ones, the holidays can be full of conflicting emotions. You might be feeling pressure to plan and host the "perfect" holiday party. Baking and shopping for everyone on your Nice List can be stressful. You might be worried about making it through just one family gathering without an argument. And if you are spending your holidays away from loved ones, loneliness could have you feeling less-than festive.
One of these activities might help you beat those holiday blues, experience the joy of the season, and spread that goodwill to other people.
Share a meal.
You might not be able to see your whole family this year, but there are loved ones and acquaintances nearby you can meet up with for a little bit of holiday cheer. Invite family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers over for an afternoon holiday coffee break. Double your annual baking and bring cookies around your neighborhood. Cook a meal for a family that you know is going through a hard time. And if you get a dinner invite from that friend or family member who isn't necessarily your favorite person in the world, resist that urge to make up an excuse to stay home. Showing up with a smile on your face and a plate of those cookies could start to mend fences and rekindle a meaningful relationship.
Be a good neighbor.
If you know you'll have an extra chair or two at your holiday dinner this year, consider extending an invite to folks on your block who will be alone. Give that elderly neighbor a hand if you see him struggling with his snow shovel or garbage cans. And if you're making a supply run before a big snowstorm, pick up a couple extra cans of soup for anyone you know who's homebound.
According to Feeding America, 51% of all food programs rely on volunteers to carry out their missions. Spending a few hours at a local church, nonprofit, or soup kitchen could be the start of a wonderful new family tradition. And when your shift is over, talk to staff about what kinds of volunteer opportunities they have during the rest of the year. Many charities experience a surge of volunteers over the holidays that then dies off. Planning to make a difference year-round could be a gift that keeps on giving for both your family and your community.
Tackle a big household project.
If you don't equate tidying up with holiday joy, then let me introduce you to Marie Kondo. The popular author and organizing expert says that when we're staring at a closet full of clutter, we should ask ourselves what items bring us joy, and which ones make us feel weighed down. Anything that doesn't "spark joy" should be tossed or donated. Likewise, if you're sick of the paint color in your dining room and you're feeling arty, throw down some tarps and cue up some Christmas tunes. Is your old couch or mattress doing a number on your back? Move yourself to the top of your shopping list while sales are still in full swing. The space you tidy up or create can make your whole home feel happier. You might even fill that space with a new hobby, like mastering French cooking or online yoga classes.
Make time for the classics.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays that we skip over the very things that have always made the holidays special. Set aside a couple hours to walk through your neighborhood with a mug of cocoa and look at the lights. Attend a religious service or the annual holiday party at your community center. Pop some popcorn and get everyone together on the couch for your family's favorite holiday movie. These are the moments of peace, wonder, and togetherness that will remind you what the season is really about.
Get excited for 2023.
When the calendar flips over to January 1st, you're going to have a blank slate. What are the goals that you want to achieve next year? What changes do you want to make in your life or work? What's something new that you want to try? What bucket-list destination do you want to visit? Should 2023 be the year that you finally retire and get started on the best half of life?
Put a meeting with Keen Wealth on your to-do list and let's talk about our comprehensive planning process and your vision for a joyful year ahead.
Bill Keen is a financial advisor with nearly 30 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he focuses on providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
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