Home for the Holidays: 3 Ways to Experience Joy

Holiday ornaments

Home for the Holidays has a new meaning this year. Many of us have altered our plans forgoing holiday travel, festivities, and gatherings outside our household. These changes are disappointing and require us to be very intentional to experience joy at work, and everywhere else.

Whether it’s your relationships, career, or the holidays, experiencing joy is an inside job. Joy requires us to get clear about what really matters most. I have been writing about how to create your own joy during the holidays for years, and this year I am asking myself 3 questions to keep me focused on it:

  1. What can I keep doing?
    When we host Christmas, we hang extra lights and decorations and make a huge pan of lasagna to send everyone home with leftovers. This year we can still decorate full-on because I love the lights. And I can still make lasagna and deliver it personally so everyone can enjoy it. What would give you joy right now just thinking about it?

  2. What can I stop doing?
    I have been working on letting go of the pony, (my unrealistic expectations) for the holidays for years. This year I can stop wishing, wondering, and focusing on all that is not perfect because everything has changed. You can let go of all the things that don’t have real meaning for you and embrace the things that do. See #1.

  3. What can I start doing?
    What we focus on expands, and this year I can start focusing on what is going well in my world. You can look for the smallest things to smile about, be grateful for and appreciate with your work, partner, and even the sunshine. Every evening write down 3 good things about your day and 3 good intentions for the next day. We don’t experience joy to get grateful, we get grateful to experience joy.

Experiencing joy is our personal responsibility. This is great news because you get to decide what you can start, stop, and keep doing to cultivate it. Identify what matters most and you may be surprised how you experience joy this holiday and into the new year.


  1. Pamela Vinson on December 1, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Thanks Diane for another great read. Hope all is well with you. My husband was hospitalized with Covid in September and all three of my children were also positive. I am so grateful they have all recovered. It’s certainly a very different year. Being a retired RN is wonderful after 45 years but I do pray that the nurses caring for all the COVID-19 patients find the strength and stamina to face their tasks every day.

    • Diane Sieg on December 3, 2020 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Pam,

      I’m happy to hear your family has recovered. Neil and I are healthy but we have had 7 members of our family diagnosed, with one still hospitalized. I pray for our healthcare professionals every day as well. Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday.

  2. Leona on December 3, 2020 at 5:06 pm

    We will repeat for Christmas as we did for Thanksgiving: as our tiny little group seated at the table and we all realized what we had given up and lived through – I suggested we go around the table and share what was to be thanked. Some time later we decided we should stop and eat our dinner which had grown quite cool by then!

    • Diane Sieg on December 3, 2020 at 10:27 pm

      Hi Leona.

      How beautiful! Gratitude is worthy of a cold meal! Thanks for sharing.

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