Ah the holidays. The time of year when everyone is over-stressed, over-shopped and over-committed. Possibly the worst part of the holidays are the events we feel have turned into obligations. These are events that we feel obligated to attend. I’m no stranger to the holiday insanity (see my 25 days of Christmas post) but over the years I have noticed that much of what I have committed to has been all wrong. Whether it’s outdated traditions or overly high expectations, here’s some advice from a reformed holiday stress ball.
Tradition or Rut?
I’m all for traditions, especially around the holidays. In fact, family traditions can be really wonderful, especially when each member truly enjoys them. However, so many families get stuck in traditions that just don’t fit anymore. Just because someone cooked a ham on Christmas in 1986 doesn’t mean that the holiday meal has been decided forever. Families grow and change from year to year. What fits for one year may not fit for the next. It’s so important to talk about traditions and be sure that everyone participating is still happy with the way things are. If not, it might be time for a change. Traditions are only special when the people participating truly see their value and importance.
Create Your Vision
Have you ever noticed that so few people ask themselves what they would like to do on any given holiday? Inevitably, the holiday season is filled with conversations that include starters like, “well we have to go to…” or “well we always …” But hold up. Have we lost our ability to think for ourselves? It had been so long since I thought about what I wanted that I almost couldn’t even think! Shift your thinking and shift your plans. You and your little family should come first during this magical season. It doesn’t matter if your holiday looks a lot like take out and Christmas movies.
Sorry, I Can’t Make it
When the calendar shifts to November, my crazy planning brain kicks into high gear. I start saying yes to everything and I start to lose the minuscule amount of free time that I have. I HAVE to go visit a friend, I HAVE to host a party, I HAVE to bake 36 dozen cookies. All I end up doing is feeling frazzled and stressed instead of festive and fun. This year? I picked my most important events and said no to the rest. I would love to attend every single pop up, open house, ugly sweater party and the like. However, I want my fun and festive self to attend and not the tired and clock-watching alter ego. She’s never any fun. Prioritize.
No More Perfect Holidays
I have always wanted a big family who loves spending time with one another. Anyone who knows my family knows that’s pretty much a fantasy. Still, as a recovering control freak, I have always forced my ideal of a big family Christmas on the members of my family (Think Griswold Family Christmas style). Guess what? They aren’t into it. After years and years of disappointment, I had to recognize that all of my family members don’t share the same vision. I can still capture the feeling of a big warm family with my husband’s family and close friends. Part of the reason I had always been disappointed is because I kept trying to hold everyone to impossible standards. Now? I focus on creating that close knit family with my own little family of free. No disappointment there!
While the holidays can be a stressful time, the stress shouldn’t suck all of the joy out of the season. If we want our kids to enjoy the holidays as much as possible, we need to lower our stress levels. Happy moms always make for happy kids and hubbies. Hope you find a way to have a stress free holiday this year!