At this time of year, it is not uncommon to hear someone say, “Give the gift of presence rather than presents.” It makes sense. After all, the December holidays have been commercialized beyond repair and it’s easy to miss the opportunity to be present with the people with whom gather.
Yet, I think it is fair to say that the reason the holidays lack presence is more complicated than just the frantic shopping in crowded stores, and commercialization of every detail, and gift giving rituals. Presence requires a willingness to connect, and that willingness comes with risk.
Assuming the majority of holiday gatherings are with family and those special friends that feel like family. Time with family is often measured by quantity rather than quality. Mom or grandma is going to say the “trip was too short” regardless if the visit was a day, a weekend, or a month!
Even if you come from a family that loves to be together and has countless traditions that you look forward to celebrating, it can be difficult to have conversations that are real or authentic. The type of conversations where you feel known and gain deeper insight on your siblings, parents, or extended family members.
But connection is what makes us human! So take a risk this holiday season. Don’t just “put in the time.” Rather, be engaged with those around and give the gift of authenticity. Send an email or text to your family letting them know you are hoping to have an intentional conversation while passing the ham and veggies this year.
One great method to get a real or in-depth conversation going is to look back over the year as if you were an "awards show" or making a “best of” list. It can be hard to remember what took place in your life so feel free to get out your phone and look through Facebook, Instagram or your Calendar app for help. You may be surprised at what you learn about those gathered around the table.
A few suggestions on the process:
It works best if you have these questions queued up ahead of time (or go over the top and write them out on cards that people can read).
Buy an extra bottle of wine (or eggnog or hot cocoa...you get the point), and allow for some extra time to answer the questions.
You may be surprised at how eager people are to participate. Especially, if you lead the way!
If you decide to do this activity with your family or friends, then please post about it on Facebook or IG and use the #IntentionalConvoChallenge17
(Sidenote: a full version of this review is available here: Reflection Ritual.)
Year In Review
Favorite meal out of the house
Favorite meal in the house
The achievement or moment you are most proud of
A moment or situation that really challenged you
Finish this sentence.: My favorite _______ from this year
Tv or Netflix show
Gratitude & Generosity
Best Story I saw someone live this year...(IE: Betty had cancer but still found a way to care for her kids in unique ways. She inspired me.)
These people showed me generosity
I am so thankful for _______
I was at most generous when _______
What do I need to leave behind from 2017?
What am I hopeful for in 2018?
Remember to share your experience by using the #IntentionalConvoChallenge17!!