Many of you know that although I LOVE to celebrate, I’m not a big fan of obligatory celebration.

What I mean is, I want us all to feel as though we have permission to be genuinely +uniquely who we are — even in the midst of cultural rituals and traditions that may not align with our own values.

I want us all to celebrate in ways that bring us to life, not drain our energy.

Years ago, I stopped buying material gifts and instead, our West Coast clan creates a day of fun for our Midwestern kin. The Holiday Hoopla is our gift — and it creates tons of silly, wonderful memories each year.

For me, creating the Holiday Hoopla allows me to use my creativity and to brainstorm with my immediate family to create an experiential gift that adds a special flavor to the holidays. It’s fun to plan, fun to execute, and fun to remember afterward.

At the heart of it, I’m convinced that what people really want is to spend more time with the folks they love. We all want to feel relaxed and present so we can appreciate all the spectacular moments that might otherwise zip by unnoticed.

I hereby grant you permission to stop doing things — especially things you really don’t want to do or are too tired to do — and allow yourself to simply enjoy the people you love.

There are no standards to meet except this one: am I present to the life I have and the people I love?

Sending you good tidings of joy for wherever you are and whatever you celebrate.