I think the holidays bring a heavy dose of expectations along with that extra pound or two on the scale. The hype of how Christmas should look with decorations, food, the ideal family (who the hell has that?) and the perfect gifts. We aren’t a Norman Rockwell painting. The pressure we put on ourselves is nothing compared to the weighted expectations that we inflict on others.
My husband and I stopped exchanging presents long ago. Yes, we love each other, but I had really unrealistic expectations that he would be able to purchase the perfect gift. I set myself up each year with the disclaimer that it would be different, and then I was left in a puddle of tears with the feeling that he doesn’t love me enough to try harder. The reality is that his talents lie elsewhere and gift buying wasn’t one of them. We were both miserable, so it was mutually agreed upon that we would stop ruining the holiday. I released him from solitary confinement of my expectation prison which in turn freed me too!
While there is extra glitter and shimmer this time of year, I am so grateful that I approach it with the same attitude I do for every other day. Grateful that I am not defined by how much or how little I decorate, that I prefer to order my Christmas dinner rather than stress myself out over a hot stove, and that it isn’t just my holiday and that everyone has a voice on how it should transpire. Realistic expectations release me from disappointment and that is a beautiful gift to give myself.