How to find Joy in the Season
By Hollie Reina
Well, here we are again. Another trip around the sun is nearing its end. With the realization that comes to many when the holiday season approaches—that time has once again passed too quickly—comes a little added stress and anxiety. How can it already be time to carve a turkey, shop for presents, lose those last ten pounds, and invite the in-laws to family gatherings again?
Holidays are meant to be a joyful time of year, and the last thing anyone needs is to stress over food, weight loss, family feuds or anything else that creeps in to steal our joy and sanity. Here are two things you can do to help you find the joy this holiday season:
- Dine out during the holidays. Many years ago I worked as a server at the Painted Pony Restaurant, the very restaurant which our happy (couple/family) is dining at in our cover photo. I was trying to earn money for a trip to England and every tip I received was welcomed, so when I was asked to take a shift on Thanksgiving Day, I readily accepted. I learned a few things as a server that day; one, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be, in fact, it was actually quite enjoyable; and two, the people who came to eat their meal that day were definitely not stressed out.
Lots of restaurants in the area serve special Thanksgiving meals and many allow you to get just as stuffed as you would at home, and some will even pack you a to-go box with all your favorite leftovers. I once spent a memorable Thanksgiving at a restaurant in Springdale just outside Zion National Park with my family that ended up being one of my favorite holiday celebrations. All the joy of a great meal, none of the clean up, and to top it all off we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon hiking in Zion. Talk about de-stressing!
If you have your heart set on cooking an elaborate meal for Thanksgiving or Christmas that is OK too. Most of my childhood memories of holidays center around the kitchen, cooking and baking delicious meals. Try ordering takeout the day before a big celebration and see what a difference it can make. Use the extra day for baking that Martha Stewart pie you have always wanted to try and let the food and the clean up be handled by someone else.
- Take the focus off yourself and serve others. Physicist Albert Einstein was quoted in The New York Times in 1932 as saying, “Only a life lived for others is the life worthwhile,” and I guess he was a pretty smart guy. Volunteer opportunities abound in the “season of joy” and there is likely to be a way you can help that will utilize your particular skills or resources. Did an invited guest have to cancel party plans? Perhaps you could donate the money you would have spent on that portion of food to a charity like Coins For Kids, which helps bring Christmas to hundreds of impoverished children living right here in Washington County.
One of my favorite ways to give back is by participating in St. George Race’s Turkey Trot. A small fee plus three cans of food is the entrance into this race, and all of the food is donated to Switchpoint Community Resource Center. A waddling turkey and a running Santa Claus usually make an appearance, and you get to burn a few pre-holiday calories. It is definitely a win-win. If we take the focus off ourselves and look for ways to serve others, we will see the needs of people who surround us and, in turn, love them more. Isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?