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What’s to love about the holidays?

Christmas season is probably one of the craziest times of the year. No wonder some people refer to it as "the silly season".

It’s a time to reflect about the year that has just passed, and a time to look forward to the year that is ahead. It’s a time for giving and receiving. For parties and get-togethers, but also a time for finding solitude. It’s a time for taking breaks, but also everything going at top speed.

It’s about friends and family. Faith and food. Laughter and last-minute dash for finishing work and holiday shopping.

While we Skype friends and family in the Northern hemisphere, they talk about snow and fireplaces, while we tell stories of sunny beaches and hot summer breezes.

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Most of my Christmas holidays are spent dividing time for the hubby’s family and my family, as we all live in different countries. Over the last 13 years of our marriage (yes, we just celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary!), we’ve been alternating visits to the Philippines (where my family’s from) and South Africa (where the hubby’s family has migrated to). We’ve also had our share of visits to the hubby’s home country – England, where we visited some of his friends and relatives. Some years, our respective families take turns visiting us in our place of residence (in Singapore within the first 3 years, and now Australia for the last 10 years).

Hence, I almost always feel like I’m running behind on everything: Gift shopping. Sending holiday cards. Work deadlines. Travel plans. Home decorations.

Before having kids and working in fast-paced jobs, I had a lot more time preparing for the holidays. Mind you, I still wasn’t always organised. But, in the early days of my marriage, for example, I wanted to send handmade Christmas art cards to friends and family. I actually had the time and the energy to paint different pieces (with real paint and paper!), then choose a handful to scan and to create unique Christmas cards.

Now, I’m lucky if I manage to send out my store-bought, charity-inspired Christmas cards. These ones I bought over a month ago are still here on my desk. And, I'm blogging about them right now, with the hope of shaming myself enough so that I can actually try and send them soon. So far, the only Christmas card that we've managed to send out this year is the one we mailed to our sponsored World Vision child in Swaziland.

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In spite of all the craziness that surround this time of the year, though, I love it. I love the holidays.

I love being able to see family members that we haven't seen in 1 to 2 years (or more).

And, find some way to spend some good, quality time with them.

Last year, we had my hubby's mum and dad come to spend Christmas in Australia. This year, my mum and sis are visiting for an extended holiday stay.

The kids don't often see their relatives, so this time of the year is really special to them. It's often the only time that they get to see grandparents, uncles, aunts, and/or cousins in person. They love it.

So, even in spite the crazy days and silly moments, I do see this as a wonderful time of the year.

But, please, please, please... Don't be too upset with me if I don't get around to sending you a Christmas card. 😉

I also love the opportunity for year-end reflections.

As some of you may know, I often do an annual retrospective posts here on this blog. I do cherish the chance to think about the different highlights and challenges I've had. Yes, even if some of those memories may not always be pleasant.

To me, it's a good time to celebrate the milestones, but also to find a way to leave the difficult moments behind. To enjoy the joyful times and to forgive hurts. To let go of pain and to be grateful for life's wins. 

Yes, I'm working on a new retrospective for 2012. I hope to share this soon.

And, I love looking forward to the new year.

This is the time of the year where I pause and do a lot of reading and writing. Not just for reflecting on the past, but also for anticipating the future.

Not for making new year's resolutions. I haven't done those things in a long while.

But, I do set goals for the year. Sometimes, I share some of those goals here. Often, I just work on those goals privately.  

And, for the last five years, I've been setting my Word of the Year. After having done this for five years straight now, I can attest to the power of choosing one word to be a "focus word" for the year.

Yes, just one word. Not three. Not ten. Not thirty. Just One Word.

While there is some benefit to choosing two or more words (and I hope to talk more about this later on), I think that there is more power in having just one. In fact, every time I come around to thinking about my next WOTY, I have come to somehow expect the fear that I feel every time I start looking at potential words for the coming year. It's scary stuff, you see, when you know that that word can change how you view life for one full year. Scary, but also very exciting.

Actually, I have been thinking a lot about the power of words lately that I'm beginning to conjure more and more ideas around this subject. Again, I'm hoping that I'll be able to share more soon enough.

How are you loving the holidays?

Are you all prepared and ready for the season? Or, are you, like me, enjoying the festivities but struggling to get everything organised in time? What do you love best about this time of the year?

About the Author Shai Coggins (MTeach, MSoc Sci App Psych)

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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