The holidays tend to make people nuttier than usual. Some are in the mix of people who “have to make the holiday perfect”. I don’t want to be the one to tell you, but those Norman Rockwell paintings were not an accurate portrayal of what a typical family gathering during the holidays looks like. It isn’t as though I love the holidays, but I don’t exactly dislike them either. I just come at them from a different angle. My secret is called KISS (Keep it simple, stupid). It is easy to be caught up in the madness and then wallow in the disappointment. Because let’s be honest, the holidays are filled with unrealistic expectations. Don’t become a hostage to those. Here are a few things that I do to make this time of the year a little less intense:
Avoid The Dreaded Gift Exchange
I know that the “purpose” of the season is to give others gifts. I buy the boys their gifts and I am done. Maybe gift giving is your jam. Good for you. Enjoy the hustle and bustle of Target with thousands of like-minded individuals who are hunting for the “perfect” gift.
I love when people ask me if I am ready for the holidays. What does that mean? Is it a competition? Is there a prize for who is the most ready? For some, if their hair is falling out and they can’t sleep because their Christmas “to do” list is too long, they aren’t ready. Sounds like we are trying to prepare for an apocalypse.
Before you gasp, let me explain. Long gone is the Christmas tree. Sure, it is lovely to look at but I am the one who decorates it, chases the cats out of it, and, honestly, it is too much work. No one is really interested, so why bother? Instead, I rotate decorations each year. It keeps it fresh and allows me to be creative. The bonus is that by being simplistic in my decorations, the effort is minimal.
People are people. This time of the year brings out a wide-range of craziness. Instead of taking everything personally, I have adopted the attitude that whatever is going to happen is going to happen. It really isn’t about me. Put the acronym – QTIP (Quit Taking It Personally) – in your emotional toolbox and you will find peace in the midst of the holiday chaos.
I understand that food seems to be one of the main attractions during the holidays. A few years ago, I started ordering a Honeybaked Ham online and had it delivered. Sometimes I order the sides too. All in an effort to make Christmas day easier since I host the dinner. I take the pressure off of myself, so that I can enjoy that time with my family.
I don’t bake. Sure, some people really enjoy that crap, but I did it when the kids were younger and I am now over it. I go to a place, called a bakery, where I can purchase items someone else baked. The items are delicious and my kitchen is clean. Win-win.
I refuse to be a hostage in the Russian roulette game of the holidays. So, I will wish Jesus a “Happy Birthday”, enjoy my minimal decorations, and have realistic expectations of those around me. Norman Rockwell should paint that.