I adore the holidays. The magic, the twinkling lights, the sweaters. Who in Scottsdale doesn’t love getting out their riding boots and pretending it’s cold enough to wear them?
My love for Christmas begins to wane by mid-December. That’s when the pressure gets to me. How can I possibly be a chef, a party hostess, find the perfect gifts, keep up the Santa charade, and carry out 30 days of elf shenanigans? And we all know that list is not inclusive. It could be much longer.
I say it’s time for a slow down. But how?
Determine what brings you joy. Then make those things a priority. For me, it’s hosting my family for our annual celebration. My grandmother can no longer host, and taking over for her makes my heart smile.
Learn how to say no. You can’t attend every event, accept every invitation, decorate every inch of the house, and bake dozens of cookies. Because you’ve already determined what brings you joy, you can decide how you will spend your time. And that may include relaxing by the tree with a book and a glass of wine.
Simplify. Christmas does not have to be a knock-out, spectacular event only to be rivaled by next year’s festivities. Think back to your childhood. What do you remember being special about Christmas? Chances are it was something simple, like watching A Christmas Story with your family or a putting your favorite ornaments on the tree (my kids are great at putting all the ornaments in one section). If your kids are old enough, try asking them what makes them happy about the holidays. Their answers may surprise you.
Ask for help. And accept it when offered. Your family wants to see you happy and relaxed, not stressed and tense. It’s hard to allow others to step in, and it’s true they may not do things the way you would have, but that’s ok. Your sanity is worth that.
In my house, there will only be a couple more years of my kids believing a large man shimmies down the chimney and leaves them gifts built by elves. They are growing up quickly and I refuse to miss out on the magic because I’ve jam-packed my schedule. It’s time for this mama to prioritize, appropriately set expectations, and slow down.
From one previously frazzled mommy to another, I hope you join me.