One of the things I love about the holidays is spending extra time with family. Time where we get to sit around and chat, remember previous holidays and dream for the future! My parents always worked really hard to make sure our thanksgiving and Christmas were very special. It wasn’t until I was married with kids (that were old enough to realize what was going on) before I realized just how MUCH work it was to provide the money for, plan and prepare the fun activities and gifts that just magically appeared around the holidays.
I had the same ***expectation in my mind for the holidays for my kids (***keyword = expectation we will address this later!!) I wanted them to come down on Christmas morning, stockings stuffed with little trinkets and gifts, cinnamon rolls hot and ready, coffee brewed, lights twinkling, the perfect Christmas music playing softly in the background, gifts galore under the tree and mom and dad ready to take all the pictures and capture the whole thing!
What I didn’t realize…for about 12 whole years, is that this was A LOT of expectations that I put on myself, my husband and my kids. I put so much pressure on myself for the “perfect” Christmas, that honestly it was more stressful than fun. If I (or my husband, to be honest) dropped the ball in any of the areas, I was super frustrated and it almost dashed my Christmas joy. Not cool. The sad thing was, it was myself who set me up for failure.
One morning at a ladies bible study that I go to, I was talking about (let’s be real, I was totally complaining) about all of the things I “had to do” to get ready for Christmas. The list was pretty long. I was complaining about how I was expected to get all the breakfast items ready on Christmas morning (of course something delicious and complicated), stuff all of the stockings to the brim, get all the music going, prevent my kids from coming down the stairs prematurely, be dressed with my face on, ready for pictures, take the pictures….etc…all while my husband slowly comes down the stairs with no requirements of work or any tasks besides asking where the cinnamon rolls are.
Before you ask…why don’t you make your husband help you???? Believe me, please. In the first 7 years of marriage, I tried….But about 7 years in, I realized that if I wanted my version “perfect Christmas”, I was going to need to do it myself. He actually wanted HIS version of a “perfect Christmas” which included a hot cinnamon roll and coffee with his favorite creamer…and sleeping in. I thought I was compromising by letting him sleep in…but really I was spending 7 more years with resentment around the Christmas season.
UNTIL LAST YEAR…
After my 10 minute rant, Katie spoke up and asked 2 questions that literally REVOLUTIONIZED my whole holiday season….and more. It changed my perspective so much. I had the best Christmas Season I have had in a long time. Now I am looking forward to this Christmas season with joy and excitement! I’m looking forward to doing all the things! I really am changed and I’m so thankful for the change in my heart.
HOW??? You ask?? Let me tell you what Katie asked me…so feel free to ask your self these same questions to revolutionize your holidays too! (these are paraphrased)
2 Questions to ask yourself to Revolutionize your Christmas!
- What would happen if you didn’t do all the things that you feel “expected” to do to make a “perfect Christmas”? When she asked me this…my stomach dropped! What???? What would happen if my kids came down the stairs with NO STOCKINGS?????? NO CINNAMON ROLLS????? NO MUSIC PLAYING IN THE BACK GROUND???????????? How could this be??? How could I do this to my kids! They would just be devastated! As she saw me processing this question, she asked me another…
- So, are you doing these things because you “have” to or because you WANT to? Talk about a LIGHT BULB moment!!! When I thought about it….I had the ownership to decide what I wanted to do. It was my choice alone to do what I wanted and no one was forcing me to do those things. I could say no, I could say yes. It was as if Katie handed me back the reigns to my holiday and it allowed me to make cinnamon rolls, stuff stockings and take photos with joy, because I wanted to, not because I was forced to. In fact, when I sneaked downstairs to stuff the stockings… literally cried. As I put all the little gifts in my families stockings, I cried with joy as I anticipated them opening them and enjoying each one. I was able to make a switch to overwhelming joy and delight, rather than resentment and frustration. I was able to allow my husband to sleep in, grab a hot cinnamon roll, get his coffee with his favorite creamer and have a great Christmas…and I enjoyed watching my kids come downstairs, opening their gifts, eating a special breakfast and being in a magical environment!
I know these two questions seem so easy, too easy! But trust me…ask yourself the same questions and have your own AHA light bulb moment long before the Holiday Season this year!
What do you like to do to keep your holiday season stress free? I would love to hear more about that in the comments!