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A Sensory Appreciation of the Holiday Season

Hello Gold Star Revolution Squad, and welcome to Tune Up Tuesday!

We are already more than a full week into December, and the holiday season is now squarely upon us! I know that 2020 has been a trying, difficult year for many people, and some of you may not be in the mood to celebrate this year.

Or maybe you are in the mood to celebrate, but you're frustrated with the limitations that the Coronavirus is putting on your normal festivities. Your mind may be pulled in a dozen different directions at once as you wonder how you will deal with your holidays being different this year.

Whatever your feelings are, one easy way to get yourself back into appreciation mode is to put yourself firmly into the present moment. And one of the best ways to do this is to focus on your five physical senses: hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch. Nothing gets us back into our bodies faster than focusing on what we are sensing around us.

Here are some examples of just a few things that you can focus on in each category:

Sound: Put your favorite holiday music on and really listen to it. Notice the warm feeling you get when you experience the emotions behind the music. Appreciate the excitement in your kids' voices when they talk about what they want from Santa for Christmas. Be grateful for the sound of the Salvation Army bell ringing when you go out to the grocery store.

Smell: Take in the mouthwatering smells of cookies baking. Trader Joes and Walgreens both have a great, fragrant decorative cinnamon broom that is sure to brighten your mood. And you can't beat the smell of a freshly-cut, real Christmas tree!

Sight: Really take in the beauty of your Christmas tree and its shimmering lights. Appreciate your neighbors' holiday decorations and their festive lights as well. Admire the beautiful holiday cards that you've received from the people who care about you the most.

Taste: Savor your hot chocolate brimming with mini marshmallows. Drink some boozy eggnog (or regular eggnog, if you prefer!). Indulge in a sticky, peppermint candy cane or some delicious, decadent holiday cookies. Okay, I have to stop, I'm making myself hungry!

Touch: Relish opening the doors on your Advent calendar or the feeling of being wrapped up in your most cozy blanket. Giving a long, intentional hug to someone in your household (even if it's your dog!).

All of the items above are related to Christmas, but you can of course do the same thing for any winter holiday you are celebrating: Really feel the weight and shape of the dreidel before you spin it; focus on the light and the warmth coming from the candles on your menorah or your kinara; savor the flavors of the specialties that go along with the holiday, like latkes or black-eyed peas.

I'm sure that there are a zillion more things that I could add to this list, but hopefully this is enough to get you started on appreciating this holiday season with all of your senses!

What do you love to take in through your senses during holiday season? Please tell us about it in the comments!

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