There are exponentially MORE items on the to-do list this time of year.
Right? There are trees to be trimmed, packages to buy & presents to wrap, gatherings to attend, cookies and candies to make, holiday meals to plan and prepare, lights to string on the roof, yard decorations to inflate, carols to practice, choirs to sing in, and so much more! The list is infinite it seems. Some of these things are traditions that go back generations and some are the latest fad making the rounds.
Unfortunately, along with the holiday cheer arrives the holiday stress. If the cheer outweighs the stress, the holiday season can be fun! If your stress is beginning to outweigh the cheer, STOP shoulding on yourself! (I should do this. I should do that. I should be able to do it all and do it well!)
Take a deep breath.
Look at your list and start making some cuts. I know that a lot of you will say, “ALL of it has gotta get done come Hell or high water!” But WHY? Because others expect it of you? Because someone might be disappointed if you don’t make their own particular favorite pie? Can’t they eat a piece of one of the other 3 pies you made? If you are a people-pleaser this time of year, you might feel guilty taking even one thing off that list.
What would happen if you prioritized the list by fun? Put all of the things that really bring you joy at the top, and anything you really don’t enjoy, put toward the bottom. That way if the list doesn’t get done, (GASP!) you will have gotten to the fun parts! You deserve to enjoy your holiday.
And yes, doing things for others in the spirit of the season is fun
and uplifting! So if it’s something you want to do for someone that genuinely lifts your spirits, by all means prioritize THAT! But if everything you are doing is for someone else, and feels like “have-to” instead of “want-to,” and none of the list is connecting you to your own spirit or the true meaning of the holy days you are celebrating, then give yourself permission to reduce your stress by reducing the list!
Let good enough be good enough.
Perfection is an illusion, and chasing it might just make it feel like a crappy holiday full of resentments instead of happy holiday full of presence. Do your loved ones need one more present to unwrap, or another 1,000 calories cooked on their behalf? Or will they prefer to have you sane and healthy and present with them for the holiday?
We can celebrate with faith & joy this winter or we can let the season go down to shopping chaos, overconsumption and overwhelm.
Thankfully we each get to choose.
What is your favorite holiday tradition?
What part of the celebration brings you the most joy?
What would change if you dropped just one thing from your list?
What would happen if you did ONLY the things that lift your heart?