Kendra DoukasFor many of us, the holiday season is stressful, overbooked, and difficult. Our to-do lists are overflowing and pocket books draining as we look to fulfill out gift list for those in our lives. We work hard to make our homes look “merry and bright” even though we are feeling drained and anxious. One helpful strategy for not only surviving the holidays but actually enjoying the holidays is to reconnect into the true meaning of the holidays.

Instead of focusing on food, gifting, and logistics of getting together, focus on the gratitude you have for the treasures in your life and the meaning your loved ones bring you. I guarantee you that five years from now no one will really remember how awesome your holiday table looked or how terrific your food tasted but they might remember a unique loving moment they had with you. I know that at first glance it can seem that the ugliness in people can get louder around the holidays—think Black Friday shopping and the influx in poor driving choices in the bad weather. The reality is that often people get more generous and seek increased connection around the holidays.

Notice this. Watch as people are more kind to one another in wishing one another a happy holiday spirit. Let your heart fill with emotion as you see an overflowing donation bin at your local grocery store. Try to influence yourself with stories of people showing love and kindness to one another and if you can’t seem to find this, then create it. Tell you loved ones that you care about them and the meaning they bring to your life. Donate to a charity or cause that you believe in- even if all you can only give a very small amount. Reminding yourself about the true meaning of this time of year can really help to feel connected to a greater good versus bogged down by the holidays.