Sometimes, when we join others for a holiday meal or celebration, we spend a lot of time on what food we’ll contribute, what we’ll wear (what fits?!) or what gift we’ll have for the host.

As this year winds down and the holiday gatherings ramp up, I have been thinking a lot about what I “bring to the table.”

But I’m not talking about food.

What if we spent more energy on HOW we show up? Here are my suggestions for a connected and intentional holiday:

Be intentional about your self-care. What are the ways you can take care of yourself amidst the obligations? What nourishes you? Make time for yourself.

Be willing to say “no, thank you.” Know your boundaries and be willing to politely hold them.

Stay present to what is happening in the moment. Allow the list of grievances of the past or fears of the future to rest, even for a little while. Greet the moment with a fresh perspective.

Focus on connection. Be with others in a meaningful way. Resist the urge to focus only on a food task, a clean-up job or small talk. Decide that your most important job is to connect with people, and do it.

Keep it simple. Ask yourself, “how can I simplify….?” In a season known for its excess, focus on what really matters to you.

Leave nothing on the table. Say what needs to be said. With love. In case this isn’t something that comes naturally to you and your people, consider these conversation starters:

       “I’ve always wanted to thank you for…”

       “I love being with you because…”

       “I always remember the time you…”

       “You’ve had a big impact on my life…”

       “I miss __________, too.”

Mark this moment. We don’t know what life will bring, and there is a chance that this exact group of people will not gather again. Take a few photos, make a craft, express your appreciation for each other.

And if these holidays feel especially challenging this year, here are some additional questions to consider:

  • How can you amp up your self-care BIG TIME?
  • Is there someone who needs your help? Do you need help?
  • What would make you feel really thankful for your life?
  • Can you call someone to express yourself and your gratitude?

By focusing on what you bring to the table, you can stay grounded, present and focused on what matters most.

Be well this holiday. All ways.  


The most important things in life are the connections you make with others.” 
– Tom Ford