How to Holiday with Presence

When we enter the holiday season, we experience a range of complex emotions…excitement, joy, hope, and pressure and stress. These feelings can overwhelm us to the point that we shut down – to cope we coast, go through the motions, and autopilot takes over.

While that might serve us for a moment, it doesn’t actually serve us ultimately. Because what we all ultimately want is to enjoy our holidays, to feel good about how we spent our time, and to feel satisfied with our connections to the people we care for.

Autopilot is not a place of presence, not a place for memory-making, not a place where we feel productive and fulfilled. Most often, it leads to regret. It leaves us thinking, “I wish I had done that differently.” Regret can begin when moments of time are lost because we weren’t fully aware at the time how important it was for us to take them in.

If we agree that presence can help compensate for regret – even be the antidote to this, then let’s explore what it really means to be present.


Being present is being in the moment, aware of your surroundings, focused on one thing, with senses engaged. “Listen with your eyes” might sound like an odd suggestion but when you try picturing this concept in real life, it starts to make sense. You’re absorbing every detail without missing a beat.

We know how it makes us feel when people are fully present with us, and being intentional to offer that to others is really what makes time so special. Even further, it’s what can make the holidays so magical.

Being present also delivers more peace in our lives, and in the chaos of a season where there is more going on than there are days on the calendar, it’s an obvious upgrade we want to make.


The most common challenge this time of year is being overcommitted. Saying “yes” to too many things keeps us in a spin cycle, and operating out of that space doesn’t allow for presence. Knowing what you want to say yes to and what you will say no to gives you an opportunity to be present where you are.

Simplify the memories that matter most to you. As we’ve discussed, simplifying things allows us to be less scattered and more present. We overcomplicate the memories we want to create, and that can take us out of the moment. Instead of perfectly made cookies and elaborate gift wrapping, settle for DONE and SIMPLE to create the best memories – “best” because you were present.

A regret-less holiday is possible, so let’s do that.