I’ll be honest. I love the holidays. The music, decorations, color scheme, the way my house looks, sounds, and smells make this my favorite time of year. Christmas is the pinnacle of that season in our house and I try to do all the things for all the people all of the time. Baking homemade fudge? It’s a must. Sending cards to everyone I know with the staged family photo? I try (and sometimes fail) to get it done early. Lovingly packing up gifts for our neighbors and the local kids whose tags I pulled off the giving tree? Without a doubt.
Ten times out of ten, I get to about December 16th and I’m fried. I end up dreading the weekends because they’re so overpacked with activities. I stay up late, eat poorly, beat myself up for how my clothes fit (because I’ve been stuffing my face since Halloween and skipping the gym), and, most embarrassingly, take it all out on the people I care most about…usually my kids and/or husband.
Maybe you can relate.
This year, I’m trying to operate December a little differently. You see, I realized that all the people I do these things for would still be my friend if I didn’t bake them fudge. They’d probably still be my Facebook friend if I didn’t send them a Christmas card. They’d probably still call me aunt/sister/friend/neighbor even if I don’t break my back (and my sanity) to give them something, do something, or go somewhere for them.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t do nice things for the people we care about. What I’m saying is that we should do those things all year long, and then give ourselves some grace when December rolls around. Every single one of us is busy all throughout the year. By the time December hits, the calendar is beyond stuffed and we’re a stressed out, exhausted mess. And it’s the most wonderful time of the year, right?!
So this month, I’m saying no to some activities that have become traditions because our calendar is as full as I want it to be. I’m re-thinking these “traditions” that we started when the kids were little to see if they still make sense for our older family. And by crossing some activities off our list, we allow ourselves to make room for some new, perhaps more lasting memories.
To be honest, I don’t know how this will turn out. I may get to January and really miss the things I said “no” to this month. This might be a failed experiment, for sure. But I do believe that it will help me keep my head above water, keep my emotions *mostly* in check, and allow me to feel like I can still have a lot of fun with my family during the holidays, not just hurriedly cross off my to-do list. To me, that’s a #holidaywin.
I encourage us all (myself included) to take time this month to reflect on the year, enjoy what’s happening all around us, and spend time doing what really matters most.