3 ways to make the good parts of the holidays last all year

The holiday season is a special time of year. Many people are celebrating both religious and cultural holidays in a concentrated few weeks. These celebrations help promote the “holiday spirit” where we often honor some of our most sacred values. But what if you could make the good parts of the holidays last all year long?

You can!

While there is no one way to celebrate the holiday season, here are some suggestions that overlap different traditions and cultures that you may want to incorporate in the coming year.

Embrace Intentionality & Focus

One of the biggest hallmarks of the holiday season is a sense of thoughtfulness and intentionally that doesn’t always carry over into other areas of our lives throughout the year. This is, in large part, due to diminishing work schedules and responsibilities around the end of the year.

The holiday season helps us slow down and move with intention. You can focus more on things you may not have been able to accomplish during your busy work week and day-to-day life. Also, you can be more intentional about the time you spend with loved ones and how you best spend that time to make lasting memories.

Embrace this type of focus and intentionality all year round by setting aside designated time for those things you often only do during the holiday season.

For example, when was the last time the whole family had a meal together? What about playing some fun games? When was the last time you read a book for fun, or took time to learn something new?

You don’t have to wait until the slower holiday season to engage in what you often see as sporadic indulgences. By planning out your time, you can enjoy more of these these things year round.

Quality Time

More than anything, quality time is one of the biggest perks of the holiday season for many of us. As work and school responsibilities dwindle, you are often allowed more time to spend with the people you care about and love the most. During the holidays you often find yourself sitting around for hours at a time, talking about new ideas or engaged in healthy debates about the latest news items.

This quality time often presents an opportunity to have more meaningful conversations about our lives, challenges, and struggles. We feel more space to talk about our mental health, challenges at work, or may even feel liberated enough to come out as LGBTQ. These conversations, however, don’t just have to happen during the holiday season.

Maintaining relationships also means maintaining intimacy throughout the year. That means that when you create ongoing opportunities to connect (and not just play catch up), you can maintain a closeness with those you value most. It’s often that sense of closeness, and knowing someone cares, that helps us feel less isolated and stressed when daily life becomes overwhelming.

By continuously creating space for meaningful conversations throughout the year, you feel more connected and remind those you care about most that you’re also there whenever they need you.

Gifts As Tokens of Affection

The holiday season is the biggest shopping quarter of the year. One could argue that this is a function of a consumer culture, which makes us overspend and place priority on material items and products. There’s some truth to that. Marketing is big business and many outlets online are designed to keep you hooked in so that you spend, spend, spend.

But the holiday season serves as additional inspiration to give. You share gifts as tokens of affection for those you care about and love. But consider this, what if you saw something in a store in March and gifted it to your friend for no special reason? Imagine the surprised and warm feelings that friend might feel. You could certainly do more of that year round, and without the obligation of a designated season. That might make your gesture feel more special. .

There are plenty of opportunities year-round that lead to gift giving. And gifts don’t only have to come in the form of products. They can also be acts of service too.

How about doing your friend a favor and picking up their dry cleaning as a nice gesture? What if you volunteered one day to dog sit so they could spend some time out practicing a bit of self-care? There are many examples of gift gifting that you can embrace throughout the year, so be creative. You don’t have to rely on the holidays to share your love and appreciation for those around you.

The holiday season is a special time of year and it often comes with a lot of perks. But, those benefits aren’t just relegated to the end of the year. With a little creativity you can make the holiday spirit last all year long.

This article was originally published on Talkspace.