“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go.”
Do you hear Bing Crosby and Michael Bublé renditions of “White Christmas” and “Jingle Bells” echoing through the mall as you prepare for friends and family to gather together? The holiday season is here, and most of us can agree it truly is the most wonderful time of year.
While the holiday season is filled with much celebration and joy, it can also carry with it the stress of frantically planning, shopping, cooking and cleaning. As we rush to get Christmas dinner cooked or wrap presents for the grandkids, it’s all too easy to let the time with loved ones pass us by without significance.
This holiday season, when all the planning is complete and loved ones gather around a table for dinner, or sit together to open gifts, consider how we can create more meaning from this rare moment of togetherness with the tips below.
1. Prioritize Listening
To create meaningful conversation, we often focus on what we should say. But the most valuable aspect of conversation is often what we do when the other person is talking.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply."
—Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Many of us feel busier than ever during the holidays, and our day-to-day conversations can reflect that feeling. This holiday season, let’s take a step back, be fully invested in the moment, and make the most of the conversations we have with loved ones.
Conversation idea: What is your most cherished tradition from childhood?
>>>Related Resource: Read 4 Thanksgiving Conversation Starters for Around the Table
2. Revel In the “Small Moments”
Many holiday plans often involve the whole family or large groups of friends gathering together.
What we mean by “small moments” is those times away from the full group that may not be in calendar, but can be so meaningful. These may occur while decorating the tree, driving from place to place or after dinner cleaning dishes.
Meaningful conversation can come from even the small moments. Our natural inclination may be to worry about what’s next on the to-do list, but remaining present in the moment can be the greatest gift.
Consider these conversation ideas as you engage in the “small moments:”
- While cleaning dishes: Is there a food you can’t imagine the holidays without?
- While listening to the radio in the car: Is there a Christmas or holiday song that makes you look forward to hearing every year?
- While decorating the house before guests arrive: What’s the most memorable gift you’ve received?
3. Be Honest
How has the past year been? With the New Year, December presents an excellent opportunity to reflect honestly on the past 12 months.
When asked, “How have you been?” our trained response is “good.” And while elaborating on life’s highs and lows when checking out at the grocery store may not be necessary, connecting with loved ones in real and genuine ways is important.
Those gathering together during the holidays come together for a reason—they can celebrate the highs and empathize with the lows. By being honest yourself, you may be surprised at how others respond and reveal their authentic selves.
Conversation idea: What was the best thing that happened to you this year? What was the hardest?
>>>Related resource: 4 New Year’s Resolutions for Grievers
Create Meaningful Conversations this Holiday Season
Go beyond the average family get-together and engage in conversations that grow you closer with friends and family. In our free guide, Busch’s Essential Guide to Meaningful Conversation, you’ll learn how to tackle some of life’s most important questions together. Filled with 25+ conversation-starting questions and tips, the entire family will appreciate the experience.
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