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12 Practical Ways to Shine and Make the Holidays Meaningful |

Holiday Shine at

I love Christmas. And in the Visayan islands of the Philippines it is called “Paskwa.” This is the holiday that my family celebrates in December. So I will refer to “Christmas” and “holiday” in this post. If you celebrate a different holiday this December, this post still includes you so please, by all means, switch those terms out to mean your own specific holiday as you read on.

To prepare for the mood and gatherings this December, one might like to dress up to feel festive, brighter and more confident for the holidays. And, if you need, there’re no lack of online tips for that, as it seems like “sparkle and shine” is the catch phrase this year!

holiday2014-ChristmasDIY-boardAnd maybe you’re decorating for the holidays—setting up your tree, nativity, hanging up lights(think of your traditional decor)— to make your place more festive… Here are some online ideas for decorating.

AND now that you’ve taken care with how things appear on the surface, here now is’s list of 12 practical ways to shine and make holidays more meaningful.

These tips are not meant to replace your own way of doing your holidays but rather to enhance your activities. Maybe some of these tips will help lift your spirit even more and help you shine from the inside out just a few degrees brighter.

pinaydotcom 2014_dec-12ways-for-holidays-list

Wherever and whenever you can, simplify. Streamline the process of the holidays. Cut down on your shopping list. Delegate the meals that you’re cooking or have a potluck. For family gift giving do a drawing from a hat so that each person gives a gift to one person, and have a reasonable price cap. Find the most elegant, simple way to do things this holiday with the best results.

  • Lighten up.
    Keep your thoughts light. Clear your mind of clutter and stop worrying about the silly things that don’t matter or that are out of your control. With purpose start your holiday by saying “This _______[specify your holiday] is going to be bright, love-filled and meaningful.” Smile because it lightens up your face. Hang strings of lights—sparkles cheer up your home and mood. Light candles, choose scented ones that make you feel cozy and comfortable like vanilla, cinnamon, cranberry, apple or pumpkin spice.
  • Connect.
    Reach out and make a connection with friends and family who are near or faraway. Send greetings via traditional holiday cards sent by postal mail or give people a call on the phone. Use technology to send greetings via email, ecard, social media, or via apps like Viber, Skype or other video chat apps. Connecting like this can warm your heart and theirs.
  • Give to those in need.
    Donate to at least one charitable cause. Like canned goods for a food drive. Or give a coffee or care packet to a homeless person on the street. Or give of your time and manpower— volunteer for a worthy cause. Touch someone else’s life in a small way like this.
  • Cook or bake.
    Make at least one meal or treat to celebrate your holiday. As you gather the ingredients, prep, cook (or bake), set aside your worries and instead think of the things that make you happy… Imbue your cooking/baking with good vibes so it comes out in the food that you will eat and share with others.
  • Make at least one gift.
    When you give away things that you make, it can be quite sweet and thoughtful for the recipient—and you! If you are good at cooking or baking you can give the tasty thing you make away, like cookies in little bags of 6, tied closed with a ribbon. A Filipino christmas parol perhaps (here’s a how-to at Jun-blog). Homemade hot chocolate mix in a jar with a pretty ribbon and tag is nice. Put together a friendship or family photo album or a sentimental picture in a frame as a gift. Come up with a homemade little decoration for the holidays… Pick flowers from your garden or purchase a bunch of at the market, put into a simple glass vase, add water, then finished off with a ribbon and card. See my Christmas DIY Pinterest Board for more ideas.
  • Be centered in who you are.
    Become centered, grounded and comfortable with who you are. Nope, I don’t mean “be self-centered.” I mean become comfortable in your own shoes. This might mean you need quiet time for contemplation, prayer and meditation to be who you are without anger and resentment. Get down to your essence. Allow the ease and comfort you feel with yourself to be felt by others in a good way. This skill enhances your experience when going to holiday gatherings because when you’re centered in your true essence YOU WILL NOT be pushed out of your comfort zone by others’ ickey mood or annoying ways. And that’s how no one, absolutely no one can stop you from enjoying holiday gatherings and get-alongs. YOU will brighten up a social gathering with the positive feelings you filled yourself up.
  • Learn about others’ holidays.
    Come to know what other people the world over celebrate in December (Kidzworld has a great list.) Connect with the world through a small act of understanding and acceptance like this. Share what you learn with others like your loved-ones or acquaintances.
  • Practice a tradition.
    What is a family or cultural thing you do every year during the holidays? In the Philippines we go to midnight mass on Christmas eve, we have 9 days of early morning church-going with warm breakfast after, we hang up Christmas lanterns called “parol.” And we have family gatherings. So, participate in beloved traditions because they bring you back to what is good about your roots and get you to be more ground.
  • Putting holy back in holiday.

    One of my family Christmas traditions is to setup a Nativity scene at home, celebrating Christ’s light come to Earth.

    Put “holy” back into holiday.
    In the modern world “holiday” may have come to just mean a day off from work, but really, the word comes from “holy day.” This December don’t let the holiday season’s purpose de-volved into petty concerns of shopping lists and frenzied gift deadlines. “Keep Christ in Christmas” gets to the heart of this Christian holiday. So whatever your holy day celebration is, keep close what is holy, what is sacred and precious about life. Honor your beliefs, traditions, and those you love.

  • Do something ritual.
    Do a ritual or start a new ritual in a private moment with yourself or with friends and family. Go somewhere that is sacred in your tradition. Saying a prayer and gratitude before a meal is a small ritual that imbues the moments following with intention and grace. The real purpose of ritual is really about connecting human minds with Spirit and deep meaning. It is a human process whereby people connect with God, a higher Divine power, and the ephemeral essence of who we each are.
  • Celebrate life and you in the bigger picture.
    See yourself beyond just daily existence. See yourself in a bigger picture. I’m talking Creation. I’m talking the cosmos. I’m suggesting that you close your eyes, breath fully in and out, and then become acutely aware of yourself sitting or standing in your space, in a building or outdoors, in a neighborhood, in a city, in a country, on some place on earth… and finally on a beautiful blue planet floating in dark velvety space alongside the moon, sun and stars. Now that’s a bigger picture with you in it. This process might help you awaken to a Divine Intelligence and cosmic order (that I call God, for short) and that you are an energy field within a body, that you are a light, a soul. Come to know this special thing about yourself better during the Christmas season.


And there it is. Celebrate and grow in your light this December and into the coming New Year.


Inday Perla



Omehra Sigahne is a life coach, multimedia artist, and leader who collaborates with artists, writers, healers, activists, professionals and organizers around the world in digital collage, poetry, photography, painting, online communities, publications, workshops, conferencesand organizations.

Omehra is also known as Inday Perla, Perla Daly, BagongPinay and NewFilipina.

She has been publishing websites to empower Filipinos for 20 years. More about her art, blogs, events, publishing and organizations at BagongPinay.

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