A Mantra for the Holidays: Passion, Abundance & Gratitude

I LOVE the holidays. I love the cold, and I love the sparkling beauty of a fresh snowfall. I love the smell of evergreen garlands and freshly cut boughs. I love baking and decorating and watching old television specials on Netflix. I look forward to the Solstice and to Christmas with nearly the same kind of excitement I was bursting with as a child, and having little ones of my own has only added to my sometimes insane approach to holiday cheer. I really have to battle to keep myself in check, and make sure that I’m not going overboard in my enthusiasm by spending too much, accumulating things we don’t actually need, or over-scheduling our entire family.

This year, I’m going to approach this Most Wonderful Time of the Year with a powerful mantra for the Holidays: Passion, Abundance and Gratitude.

a mantra for the holidays


There are so many ways to explore  passion during the holidays! Opportunities for creativity, spirituality, connection, design, cooking, gift-giving, music, caring, feathering the nest. Everywhere I turn there’s something else to do that fills me with satisfaction and that warm, wonderful vibration that happens when I’m in a passionate place.

It seems to me that rather than fall prey to those commercial pressures or any sense of obligation, I should just try to focus on engaging in a passionate way when it comes to creating a meaningful holiday season.

For example, rather than run around blindly at the last minute, trying to find suitable teacher gifts and running into the same pile of typical and useless junk, I will focus on my passion for food and bake biscotti at home with my man. We do this every year, and it’s so much fun to sip spiked egg nog, listen to music and stay up late filling the house with great smells. Homemade gifts are so lovely, and if the teachers can’t enjoy them, they can re-gift them to someone who can. Although, seriously, who doesn’t like biscotti?

Do you have a passion for decorating? Why not plan a visit to an older member of your family and help them trim their house? Turn it into a real celebration and bring a prepared dish to pop in the oven. Take the kids along for their contagious excited energy.

The gift of your time and attention is better than anything money can buy. Click To Tweet


I have such a hard time not getting sucked in by the irresistible displays of beautiful decorations, seasonal home decor, and perfectly packaged gift baskets. There is a little part of me that secretly yearns to go on an epic spending spree every year at this time. Are you the same? Have you ever indulged that urge? I have, and afterwards I felt sick about the whole thing.

It’s all just stuff, and we already have so much. We have an abundance of everything, actually; clothes, toys, food, books, decorations. It’s incredible how much we have, and that’s just a list of things. We also have health, laughter, love, family, warmth, and safety. Seriously, what else do we actually need? Whenever you feel the urge to go overboard, take a moment and really take in everything that you and your loved ones already have.

Rather than overspending, why not take a quiet moment to reflect on how much you already have? Click To Tweet

Here’s a small example of how realizing abundance can make this season brighter. I wanted some lavish arrangements for the front of our house last year, but I couldn’t justify spending another penny. We were living on 30 acres, surrounded by forest, so I hiked out with our wheelbarrow and a pair of clippers and harvested every bit of pretty evergreen I could find. Then I trudged back, and spent an entire day in the cold arranging the evergreen into the planters in front of our house, adding some finishing touches of color from my collection of craft supplies and thrift store finds. The arrangements were beautiful, and exactly what I wanted. My only regret was not having better gloves, my hands were actually raw when I was done from all of the needle pricks, but despite this, I was immensely satisfied.

You already have everything you need. How can you work with that to feel more full during the holidays, rather than running around like crazy trying to make, find, buy, do everything that you think you have to do for the season? If you’re anything like me, you probably have everything in the basement that you could ever need to help the kids make beautiful, personal gifts for close family and friends.

Even better, you can announce to everyone on your list that this year they’re all getting an experience gift rather than a thing. Experience gifts are the best, and usually far more memorable. Think of something to do rather than something to get. Think of something to create together rather than something to set on a shelf. Share your time and love and talent rather than a meaningless thing you found in a store. Help your kids/loved ones to experience how beautiful this is too.

Are you digging this mantra for the holidays so far? Grab my free coloring workbook and spend some quality passion-connecting time to get in touch with your true holiday spirit!

Holiday Mindfulness Opt In


Recognizing abundance is the first step in practicing gratitude. So much healing and positive change has happened in my life as I learn to be truly grateful for the many, many positive things I have. I think I’m one of many who have only come to embrace gratitude after feeling profound loss and sadness. Gratitude is the “light at the end of the tunnel” that everyone mentions because each and every day, we all have something or someone that we can be grateful for. Gratitude inspires us to give in a meaningful way because we grow profoundly aware of how much we have.

So much healing and positive change has happened in my life as I learn to be truly grateful Click To Tweet

How do you say “thank you” during the holidays? Do you volunteer for a community organization? Do you give to a local food or toy drive? Do you help your neighbors manage their snowy driveways?

As I was writing this post, I came up with a great idea for practicing family gratitude. I’m sure it’s been done before, but I love it! I want to get a large bough or branch and anchor it in a pot in a central place in our home. Then, each day in December, our whole family will fill out a little card that names one thing we are thankful for that day, and we will hang it on the tree. It will be like an Advent countdown, but with a different kind of sweet reward each day. Feel free to use that if it works for you!

This holiday season, take some time to think about the kind of experience you want for you and your family. Take the Danielle Laporte approach and make a list of “Desired Feelings”, and then take just five quiet minutes in the morning before your day begins to bring these feelings into focus. Do you know Danielle? She’s like the high priestess of awesome empowerment. I think you’ll love her.

Keep Passion, Abundance, and Gratitude as your mantra for the holidays as you step into all the warmth and festivity. Stay focused on what is important and meaningful to you, and enjoy the season and all of its beautiful offerings to the fullest.




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  1. December 1, 2015 / 4:41 pm

    Thank you for this post! I think we all can become overwhelmed in some sense by the holidays. I used to feel a lot of sadness but in more recent years have re-connected with the joy and fun traditions that it can bring.

    Thank you for speaking to gratitude as well. This has been my ‘homework’ this month. A neurologist in the US did a study that included doing brain scans of people when they were asked to think about what they were grateful for as well as scans of when they were angry, frustrated, etc. The difference in the way brain reacted was huge. So every time I am feeling down or frustrated or worn out this month, I consciously think of 3 things I am grateful for and the way it changes my mood is amazing and immediate. It makes such a huge difference and can allow the space needed to see the beauty in the holidays instead of the hoards of shoppers and credit card bills!


    • Cat Skinner
      December 1, 2015 / 4:45 pm

      You are most welcome!

      I think if we could really tune in to the more spiritual elements of the season, rather than the commercial, the holidays would be such a beautiful thing. I love this time of the year, and I really want to make sure my family loves it too. Instilling this sense of peace and warmth and gratitude is the best way for them to see what the season is all about.

  2. Rachelle
    December 1, 2015 / 8:58 pm

    I thank you also for this post Catherine. Just want you to know that all the work you have done in the last 6 years to be a better person has certainly paid off for you. I see growth in you that I have never seen before. I love that you have found happiness in your life with your beautiful family. The writings that you do bring tears of joy to me. I am thankful everyday to have such wonderfully talented children, grandchildren, daughter in law Sarah, son in law Nekky in my life. I hope that I can be here for a good long time to see the growth that occurs all around me. Love you lots, Mom xo

    • Cat Skinner
      December 2, 2015 / 6:19 pm

      Aw, thanks mom! I love that you’re reading all of these posts. Let’s have the very best holiday yet, ok?