There are two kinds of people in this world; those that love and thrive with joy during the holiday season, and those that those absolutely dread the holidays. I probably fall somewhere in between. I find great joy in some of the traditions that I have started with my family, but sometimes the obligations that the holidays can bring weigh me down. In these “Instagram Perfect” times, the holidays can sometimes make you feel inadequate in your celebrating with all the perfect Christmas cards, extravagant gifts, Disney trips, Christmas sweaters, and extraneous fluff. It’s hard to keep up, but why should we? Here are some tips to help you get through the holidays with little effort and lots of joy.
1.) Stay off the “gram” if it’s making you feel inadequate. If the app isn’t making you feel anything but inspired and entertained, then you don’t need it. Maybe just give it a break until all the images of perfect families in matching sweaters has died down. I promise you won’t miss out on anything truly important.
2.) It’s ok to say no. No to parties, no to recitals, no to gift exchanges. You don’t have to do it all, or any of it. There will be years where you are feeling it, and others where you are not. Nobody’s feelings should be hurt if you kindly decline, and if they are, then that’s a personal issue. We all have them.
3.) Don’t feel obligated to buy everything on your children’s wish list, or the “hot toy” of the season. The sooner you prepare your children for not getting everything their little heart’s desire, the sooner they will become well rounded individuals.
4.) If visiting family compromises your mental health, it’s not worth it. Spend the holidays with the ones you love who love you back. If friends are like family, spend it when them. If just spending the holidays with your children makes you happy, then do that. There is no set rule that you must visit every uncle, aunt, second cousin, and dog groomer. Your time is valuable, make the most of it.
5.) Make your own traditions. Christmas cookie decorating, gingerbread house making, and matching pajama wearing is all fun, but so is starting your own traditions. There is no rule book to the holidays and you can make them your own. Just do YOU, Boo. Your kids can feel the difference when you’re doing something you feel in your heart versus what you THINK you should do.
6.) Give back. This is by far the most important one for me during this season. If you feel any kind of way about the holidays, imagine those truly less fortunate who lack the resources to supply the essentials during these tough times. Giving back puts everything into perspective for me and gets me out of any holiday rut I might be in. There is nothing more rewarding for me than the ability to give back. We can ALL do it, even if it’s just volunteering your time at a local food bank. Extra credit if you take your kids!
7.) While talking about giving back, remember the people working extra hours to make your holidays easier. USPS, FedEx, and UPS work long hours in December. They love snacks and waters left for them, and something as small as a bag of nuts and a Gatorade can bring huge smiles to their faces. When they write ‘thank you!’ on my packages, it gives me insurmountable joy!
I hope some of this helps ease your
holiday soul. We sometimes complicate our own lives to a fault. It’s always important to step back and evaluate what’s really important during these times. If none of this serves you, just remember, it’s just a season, and this too shall pass.
Happy Holidays, Linda