Sometimes we stress ourselves out for no good reason! The holidays are filled with such “voluntary stress” opportunities. I don’t know about you but often my stress has to do with I think I “ought” to be doing for the holidays because of the standards others (a grandmother, mother or aunt, even so-called friends) have set up. Some of my “ought to-s” include:
1. Bake a ton of Christmas cookies, package them beautifully and give them away to neighbors and friends.
2. Find, purchase and wrap (beautifully) the perfect gift for everyone on my list before December 24, even if they live half a world away!
3. Decorate the house with Christmas cheer in every room! Is one tree enough?
4. Clean and scrub the house from top to bottom so that guests will not judge.
5. Lose ten pounds.
Ha! If even one of those five things happens it will be a Christmas miracle! Do you feel the same? Do you have your own list of ‘Shouldas’ that’s making you grumpy?
This year I am more of the mindset to just be honest with myself and brutally prioritize. You can do this, too. Ask yourself if you could only do one thing on the list, what would it be? So I took a deep breath and decided to focus on #2, revising it to read: “Find a good-enough gift that will make your loved one smile.” It doesn’t have to be the Best gift or the Perfect gift. For me the rest of the list is not essential for a happy holiday. In fact trying to squeeze in the rest in the next few days may take away form the holiday spirit.
The real trick here is not to care so much about the stuff that doesn’t get done. That’s not easy is it? But the truth is even the most sparkling floor does not replace the warm welcome of an open loving heart. A good guest won’t notice the dust bunnies in the corner and won’t care if they do notice them. A good friend will be just as happy with a little box of cookies after the New Year as a huge one before January 1st. I know I would! Wouldn’t you?