For me, the final straw on the back of my Holiday Madness Camel came in the form of the Shelf Elf. Everybody was posting pictures of their mischievous Christmas elves posed daily in the midst of elaborate hijinks. One day he’d be rigged up to look like he was hang-gliding over the toilet. The next he had messed up all the laundry one woman had just folded.
I saw the elf and, with a sense of dread, I knew that I had to get one and pose him because everyone on Facebook and Pinterest was doing it. They were all doing it and I felt this huge weight of self-imposed elf pressure. I had to do it too. The pressure built and built and I brainstormed ideas and I didn’t even want to do it, but I had to.
Then I came to my senses and thought, We already have a ton of great traditions, too many great traditions. Stop the madness!
There are so many fun things to do for the Holidays. The problem is THERE ARE SO MANY FUN THINGS TO DO FOR THE HOLIDAYS. And we want to do all the things and we feel pressure to do all the things, whether we even want to. How would it feel to actually celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas or Hanukkah, rather than preparing right through them and then cleaning up the mess?
First, ask yourself how you want yourself and your loved ones to feel this November and December? How about calm, peaceful, loved and loving? Do you also want to feel festive and creatively fulfilled? You can have all of those things, but only if you realize that you can’t have all of THE things.
Holiday stress is mostly caused by our own expectations. You can’t do every craft on Pinterest. You can’t perfectly execute every cool tradition you’ve ever heard of from both sides of your family and your nice German neighbors who are celebrating Christmas Old School Euro Chic.
Once you’ve decided how you want yourself and others to feel for the holidays, choose the things that are most likely to make you feel that way. This may mean spending more time reading festive stories with your kids and less time driving downtown to see the gingerbread house masterpieces. It might mean writing thoughtful holiday letters to the five people you know will appreciate them the most, rather than sending cards to every person you’ve ever met.
If you want to feel love, give love. Love is not elaborate or gold-sprinkled. Love is the simplest thing in the world. Peace is another emotion more likely to be found in stillness, than chaos.
Maybe you want to get a bit creative this year. That’s cool if you have the time and energy to do it. But, if you want to celebrate a holiday Drops of Awesome style, consider doing something festive with no strings attached. Just because you do it once, doesn’t mean it has to become a tradition. Is it so bad if your kids say, “Remember that one time mom covered my ceiling with twinkle lights on Christmas Eve? That was awesome.” ?
Answer = no, it is not so bad. It is Awesome.
Do they have to say, “Remember how she used to cover my ceiling with twinkle lights on Christmas Eve every single year of my life?” Answer = no. They don’t.
The best memories your family will have will come from the way they feel, not the number of presents, or how closely your home resembles a Pottery Barn catalog. How will my kids feel about Christmas if I’m snapping at them all day because I’m sleep deprived from shelf elfing and crocheting lace ornaments all night long? That’s not the Christmas I want. So, whatever you celebrate this year, do it with love and realize that the main person pressuring you to do more and do it better is you. You can deal with you. You’re sort of the boss of her.
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