You’ve received the Christmas cards and seen the Facebook posts. The perfect families wearing matching pajamas. Even the dog. You’ve watched the holiday movies. In the movies, they always find/receive the perfect gift. In the TV commercials, everyone always makes it home for Christmas. Guess what. It’s not real. I repeat. It’s not real.
No wonder we feel so stressed around the holidays. Apparently everyone else is having a perfect Christmas. We’ve been conditioned to believe everyone else is getting a car, or diamonds, or a big-screen TV for Christmas. December to remember, and all that. How many people do you know that actually received a car for Christmas?
In real life, your loved one may have to work, or your kids may not be with you at Christmas. They may not buy you a gift. They may be with their in-laws or an ex-spouse, or live too far. One of them may get the stomach flu. Your kids may be trying to figure out how to keep the various branches of their family happy. If you believe your Christmas will be ruined if your children aren’t with you, it just may be ruined.
For years Denny and I spent every Christmas Eve with his family, and Christmas Day with mine. Mom and Dad were divorced, so we had a third Christmas with Dad a few days before or after. Christmas with our own three kids was squeezed in there somewhere, until we finally decided if we didn’t start our own traditions, the kids would be gone and we’d never have one.
Let’s learn from this Christmas, and plan for a better one for next year. What will help you make the most of the holidays next year? Grab that 2020 planner, and start planning. If you are religious, start with pencilling in the service you will attend. If you know you will be alone for part of the time, decide what you’d like to do in advance. Maybe some Netflix binge-watching or reading a book you’ve been wanting, but been too busy to take time for.
What didn’t you squeeze in this year that would make next Christmas extra special? Whether it’s cards, crafting, cookies or whatever, pencil it in that planner, and make it happen.
If you are stressed by shopping, send quick thank you notes, and let the recipients know you plan to cut back next year. They may be relieved as well!
Set yourself up for a better holiday next year, by planning more, and expecting less!
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