With Thanksgiving exactly a week away I guess the holidays are officially upon us. I am actually trying to understand where this entire year went but that’s a blog for another time. Today we are going to talk about what you can do to make the most out of the next couple of months. So here we go ….
Step 1: Realize that our society has officially lost their mind
If you question whether or not this is true, just walk down the isles of your local super store late on Halloween day. Gone are the discount candy displays (they are actually WAY in the back in the farthest right hand corner), and in their place the Christmas elves magically descended and threw up tinsel everywhere.
We have supersized our expectations and put so much pressure on the holiday season that I fear we will never again be able to sit with a cup of cocoa on Christmas Eve to relax and just take it all in. We are spending more and enjoying less. We are running in circles and missing out on the magic.
This makes no sense to me and it’s time we stopped this nonsense and regain our sanity. Let’s take our lives back and get back to basics. The holidays are about time with family away from school and the office. It’s about creating memories and sharing stories. And it’s about celebrating together.
Trust me the long-standing family traditions (many of which get lost in our quest for perfection) mean more than any perfectly decorated tree or latest must have gadget.
Step 2: Remember the holiday season is what you make of it
As military families the holidays are often seen as a time to make up for missed special events and sometimes we strive for perfection “in case” the worst happens and we don’t get the chance again. We tend to spend a bit more on that perfect gift, we justify an expense because well they weren’t here last year. We place so much emphasis on the gifts and the hoopla that we forget what the season is all about.
Putting this kind of pressure on ourselves is only making things more stressful. Holiday happiness comes from so many different places and experiences and there isn’t one “right” way to celebrate. So take a moment and sit down with your family and discuss what is important to each of you. You may be surprised that the key to your child’s holiday memories has nothing to do with what’s under that sparkly wrapping paper.
Step 3: Allow yourself some space and be flexible
So often we use a specific criteria to determine the success or failure of a particular event. This the mindset where the perfect holiday is achieved ONLY if every box on the long checklist has been successfully marked complete. This strategy while it may seem productive is the kiss of death when it comes to holiday happiness.
Take the time to allow the entire season to unfold. Let spontaneity rule and plan if you must but let your plans be flexible. Your children will thank you!
Step 4: Let go of the expectations
Decorations, cooking, entertainment and gifts. These are only a few things that cross our minds on when we think about the perfect holiday. What if this year you just let go of any expectation at all and just took it all in. Expectations can lead us to disappointment when what we think is going to happen doesn’t. How many times have we purchased a gift or planned a celebration only to be disappointed when the reaction of our loved ones doesn’t meet up with what we thought would happen? Letting go of expectations is key to happiness so much so that I chat about it in Right Side Up . So this holiday season let go and live in the moment.
These are some steps my family takes to really make the most of the holidays. That and a few of the topics I’ve shared in these past holiday posts. How do you balance it all? Share your secrets in the comments below!
~Judy Davis, the Direction Diva is a motivational speaker, author and lifestyle blogger as well as a military life and teen suicide prevention expert. Co-founder of DASIUM, Judy’s books Right Side Up and Warning Signs: Is Your Teen at Riskare go to resources for families and her websites are filled with tips, inspiration and resources for those looking for direction. Connect with Judy at TheDirectionDiva.com