It isn’t a new notion that the holidays are stressful. And the recent rise of social media has added to our holiday strain by creating a perception of Pinterest perfection and pitting mom against mom (whether intentionally or not) to one up each other to make their families’ holiday the happiest and most magical.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some holiday magic…but at what point does it become more about me, my expectations, my stress, my disappointment and less about enjoying the time with my family and creating lasting memories. How can I channel my excitement and passion for the holidays into a few carefully curated activities and gifts that will create lasting memories without those memories including me crying or screaming?
By having a clear focus for your holiday energy, you are more likely to make those experiences truly special…because when we do everything all the time, it is no longer special. It is now our normal. So let’s make the holidays special again!
What are your holiday must-dos? One way to help curb the stress of meeting those holiday expectations is to have a clear view of what is important to you and your family. Is it spending time with extended family and friends? Seeing as many Santas as possible? Having a beautifully decorated home? Making exquisitely wrapped handmade gifts? There is no wrong answer for what your holiday priorities SHOULD be. The issue comes when all activities are given equal weight and importance. Then, as the month goes by and tasks are not completed, the stress and anxiety sets in.
Expectations versus Realities
It is easy to say “lower your expectations”, but how? I mean, once that holiday rat race starts, it plows forward, full speed ahead through New Year’s with few stops along the way. One way is to choose a few specific holiday activities and tasks that are really a priority for your and your family. Focus on doing those things that really matter well rather than “all the things” just ok.
You may be thinking “yeah, right? Limit my holiday activities. Not a chance!” Ok. What about paring back the scope of your activity or asking/hiring someone to do it for you? Chances are there is someone in your community who would love to help you with these tasks. And delegating doesn’t have to mean hiring someone to do all your work…it could mean spreading the work around. One of my favorite holiday traditions is my Cookie Exchange. Baking and seeing my friends are 2 of my holiday priorities. By hosting this one event, I can fellowship with friends and get a ton of yummy treats for my family and neighbors.Let’s take back the holidays and refocus our energy into the activities that bring us the most joy, let’s emphasize quality experiences over quantity. Because it truly is possible to have an amazing holiday season without needing to have it all.
Christy Lingo is a mother of 2 boys, Professional Organizer and owner of Simple Solutions Organizing serving Columbus, Ohio and the surrounding Central Ohio area. She is the oldest of five children whose ages span 14 years with a mother whose motto was "Be organized or be lost." Upon leaving home, she spent 14 years honing her organizing skills by moving more than 15 times and living in an average of 700 sq. foot, most times with minimal closet space and limited storage. You can find Christy on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and her webpage.