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Preparing for the Holidays

How to live your own Hallmark holiday movie By Jennifer “Taz” Vazquez

What thoughts and feelings come up when you think of the holiday season? For some, the holidays are a time of excitement and magic: glad tidings in the air; enjoying the festive music and decorations; paying kindness forward for someone in need (or just because); looking forward to annual traditions; nostalgia thinking of past holidays; quality time with friends and family; and taking time to watch a favorite holiday movie!

For others, the holidays are a time folks would like to fast forward through because they are: stressful; anxiety filled trying to find the perfect gifts or be the perfect host; full of challenging family dynamics or time missing family; filled with disappointment or resentment over unvoiced expectations; or sadness because of past reminders, such as the loss of a loved one, negative past experiences, or feeling lonely.

So, let me ask you, if you could live your life like a Hallmark holiday movie, would you? In 2019, the Hallmark Network produced 40 holiday movies—and over 85 million people watched them! What is their secret formula for capturing the magic of the holidays that keeps people watching year after year? Typically, it is because we can predict the plot and know it will be a happy ending. We also get to escape from the hustle and demands of everyday life to relax.

Every movie has recurring themes, such as: an independent, successful main character moves to or visits a postcard-perfect small town; the lead character meets other interesting people; they learn to listen to their heart, follow where it leads, and discover their happy ending; and a storybook romance. Lastly, the movies capture the thoughts, feelings and beliefs in the magic of the holidays by tapping into positive emotions, perspectives and experiences.

While the Hallmark holiday movies are fiction, there are lessons we can apply in our own lives. Here are six tips for living your life like a Hallmark holiday movie to find your own happy ending this season: 1. Set your intention for how you want to enjoy the holidays. This includes establishing your boundaries to maintain your health and wellness. Don’t lose sight of what really matters to you. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to practice saying no to people and places that drain your energy.

2. Honor old traditions and/or create new ones. It builds connection, comfort, meaning, and grounds us to our values/principles.

3. Practice gratitude, generosity and having fun. It makes us feel better and creates a ripple effect around us (and in our community).

4. Find enjoyable activities that you can do at little or no cost; and/or ask for donations to your favorite charities, in lieu of gifts.

5. Take a break when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. A short walk, stretch, exercise, meditation, or some deep breaths are powerful tools. They will help you relax, reset, refocus and reframe.

6. Finally, surround yourself with folks who support your intentions and boundaries. If you’re feeling sad, acknowledge your feelings and reach out for support from family, friends, spiritual advisor, coach or mental health specialist.

If you want to live your life like a Hallmark holiday movie, then take some time to practice and use these six tips. You’ll be able to tap into the spirit of what these films inspire and find your peace, calm, happiness and magic this holiday season.

Happy Holidays, y’all!

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