Happy Holidays to you mama bears! This season can be fun but also beyond stressful. I am sure you are wondering how you can fit it all in, do it well, and not lose it. I am wondering the same things myself! However, I find a few tune ups to perspective and attitude can make a huge difference to how stressful things are.
Let Go of Perfection
Pinterest, commercials, and your mother in law don't make this easy, AND it is vital that you free yourself from too high or impossible expectations. If you lived on your own island with no disruptions, maybe you could achieve perfection, but then the holidays would be kind of pointless with no one to celebrate with. Holidays are about connections and experiences, even the messy ones. Not everything needs to be Kodak picture worthy to have positive experiences and memories. Loosening the grip of expectations reduces stress and allows you to relax and enjoy the moments instead of tense around them.
Focus on Experiences, NOT Gifts
What do you remember from your childhood around the holidays? For me, I remember the smell of lutefisk (sorry, not sorry), warm living rooms, laughing, decorated malls, and my mom's delight during the holiday time. I remember the experiences that were connected to my senses, not the gifts. In fact, the only gift I remember is the one I didn't receive. I asked for a horse.....A HORSE! No parent in their right mind would have bought their child a horse. Unless, of course, you have the means and resources to do so. I lived in the first ring suburbs of the city. I thought it was perfectly reasonable in my 10 year old mind, but now as a parent and adult, I can see the faulty logic.
Anyway, the experiences are what you and your kids will remember, not the gifts. Creating fun traditions or finding the biggest and most obnoxious holiday inflatable to put in your front yard means way more than killing yourself to find the perfect Barbie Dream House (my daughter's current request of the day) or some other expensive and hard-to-find item.
Here are few fun ideas to get started
Go ice skating
Go an a winter hike
Make hot chocolate
Go see holiday lights
Make holiday cards
Volunteer with your family to serve meals or other items to those in need
Visit an indoor water park
Decorate your home inside and out with kids
Let kids decorate their rooms for the holidays
Make a special holiday brunch
Visit a tree farm
Make holiday cookies
Elf on a shelf
Make a snowman
Make a gratitude poster with dry erase paper and markers. Write what you are grateful for each day from each member of the family.
Let Go of People Pleasing
This is probably my favorite and my mantra for the holidays. With big families on both sides, my husband and I often feel like we are being dismembered because we are pulled in so many directions and locations. You can't be two places at once so decide where you WANT to be instead of HAVE to be. Creating your own intentions around what would bring you and your family the most joy and fun this holiday season will help you stay within reasonable time and energy commitments, as well as bring positive feelings.
Keep It Simple
Simplicity is the name of the game. There is so much internal and external pressure to do and be all the things. Here are 3 ways to Keep It SIMPLE:
1. Rule of 3: choose 3 things that are most important to you this holiday season and create intentions around them. For example: go see holiday lights that sync with the radio with your family. Or, give one intentional and meaning full gift to each of your closest family members.
2: The holiday time is FULL of all the things. Follow a 20% rule and look ahead at weeks coming up and PREEMPTIVELY take 20% off your to-do list.
3: If you are a list-maker, make another type of list called a "To-NOT-Do-List." List out all the things you are choosing not to do. Whether that is not going to the mall and purchasing gifts online, or not cleaning the bathroom this week, or saying no to another commitment, it can be anything.
Keep Your Self-Care Intact
You have heard me say it again and again, but please, for your own sanity and well being, take care of your heart and body this season.
I hope you and your family have a beautiful holiday season this year!