Christmas is right around the corner and I must admit…we are getting a bit giddy around here! The shopping is almost done (almost…), the stockings are hung, the tree is decorated, and outdoor lights are up for the first time in years. The kids are dropping hints left and right of the presents they all long for…
The calorie intake is increasing and I keep telling myself I will begin a workout routine soon. The calendar is bursting with things to wrap up before we ring in the New Year.
However, I know that some of us may need a bit of a kick in the rear. We are tired. Exhausted. About to collapse on the floor. We continue to ask ourselves, “Why do we feel compelled to do so much this time of year?”
So, I’ve been thinking (which is a bit of a rarity around here)…go ahead and take a breath and allow yourself to relax, chill a bit, and truly enjoy this holiday season.
SAY NO. It really is going to be okay. You don’t have to attend every single holiday festivity. If they are truly your friends, they will understand that you are about to drop to the floor. It will be fine if you lag behind and sit by the fireplace, tossing your feet up on the easy chair.
PICK A TRADITION OR TWO. It’s easy to get sucked into what everyone else is up to. The extravagant gingerbread houses. The cookie decorating. The elaborate gift-giving for Uncle Tom and third-cousin Jim. But you don’t have to do what everybody else is doing. I’m serious! There is no reason that you run for “Mother of the Year.” Your kids would much rather enjoy you as a mom with a bit of sanity than one who is stretched way, way too thin.
SEIZE THE MOMENT. This is precious time. We will pass to our kids things that will resonate for years. Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing for me to pass on?” Maybe it is your grandmother’s gingersnap recipe or a nativity scene you visit every single year. Traditions are the things that we will choose to do again and again and are important because they help form who we are and what we believe.
STRENGTHEN YOUR FAMILY BOND. The holidays are a wonderful opportunity to deepen intimacy and create a special bond from spending valuable face-to-face time with each other. Has it been a long time since you said “Hello” to your teenager? Or checked in with your aging parents?
The holidays are a great way to reconnect and build long-lasting memories. It is also a great time to forgive and move forward. It is time to let go of bitter feelings and allow repentance to do an inward transformation. You will be a better person if you do.
REALIZE YOU CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE. As hard as you try, someone will turn up their nose at the present you buy or exclude you from their annual Christmas party. Go ahead and laugh about it now.
Growing up, one of my husband’s family traditions was to eat oyster stew on Christmas Eve. His grandmother insisted that all the boys eat it. Rather than gagging it down, they came up with clever ways to discard it. To the dog. In the napkin. An awkward opening of a window. A mad dash to the bathroom. You get the idea. And although none of them have carried on this tradition in their respective families today, one thing is clear: a Christmas Eve never goes by without reminiscing about those precious memories.
So as you head out for your last-minute chores, remember to take it all in stride. Recount year’s past and put it all in perspective. There will always be next year to do it all over again.
What tips do you have for surviving the holidays?