The season of ‘It’s all too much’
Get a grip this year and fit the holidays to your schedules and needs
As the holidays approach, I’m feeling a little Scrooge-y. I love the lights and the anticipation and seeing family members, but I can get really bah humbug as December wears on. Maybe it’s because I’m juggling work and my children’s schedules, or maybe it’s the change in time (my gosh, it is dark early). This year, I am trying to hit the reset button and focus on what the holidays stand for. I want to see the best in my fellow humans and spread love.
When I chat with my parent friends, though, I hear a familiar refrain: “It’s all too much! Too many parties, too much pressure to decorate the house and too many gifts. I am exhausted, and I don’t want to disappoint anyone.” These parents want to have a nice season, but they feel a little bullied by the expectations.
It’s a lot. So let’s see how we can simplify things and get some joy going.
When I ask parents for their favorite holiday memories, there are common themes: Close friends and family members, a deep feeling of belonging and warmth, and traditions. Gifts are less important, and no one mentions over-the-top vacations. The memories even border on the mundane, but the feelings of belonging and excitement loom large in their hearts.
Our children are the same. They say they want stuff, but what they truly want is our time and attention.
So when the cocktail party invitations are coming in fast and furious, or the school event reminders are clogging your email inbox, take a deep breath, drag out your calendar and get real. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Does this party bring me joy, or do I feel obligated to go? (This also goes for hosting.)
2. Does the event create joy in my family?
3. Do I really want to volunteer for that function, or do I feel obligated because I do it every year?
4. Can I take a year off from attending the event or volunteer opportunity?
5. Can I attend a function and leave early?
Here’s the beautiful thing: If you look at your calendar and ask yourself these questions, you will begin to make decisions that are right for yourself and your family.
This decision-making also goes for cookie- and gingerbread-decorating activities, white elephant gift parties, and trips to “Nutcracker” performances or elaborate displays. Remember, we are not judging whether the event is good or bad. We are choosing to own our time and our joy.