About seven years ago I decided I absolutely hated Christmas.
As a kid I LOVED Christmas. I loved the anticipation of presents, I loved the decorations, I loved seeing the lights, I loved all the Christmas parties, basically I loved it all. I thought as a mom it would still be as equally exciting.
But I was wrong.
My super sexy husband isn’t a big holiday guy; he thinks they are over commercialized, that people get too uptight, and that people spend way too much money that it makes the holidays lame. So, if anyone was going to spread some Christmas cheer it was going to fall on me.
At first I was ok with that. I didn’t mind be in charge because to be honest, I really like being in control and I could just do whatever the heck I wanted to do. And it worked for us for the first few years of Christmas.
Then, one Christmas I decided I hated everything about it. I had five kids at the time and I wanted to make Christmas super special for them. I would homeschool all day, then after I put everyone to bed I would go Christmas shopping late at night. I put a lot of thought into their presents and went to several different stores trying to find the right thing. After I purchased everything, I then spent the next week or two late at night wrapping all the presents.
Did you know I am not a night owl? I go to bed super early; I’m not really functioning past 9:00pm. The late night shenanigans were completely wiping me out, but I told myself it would be worth it, so I kept plugging along. Christmas morning came and I was so excited to give my kids all the toys and awesome things I bought for them.
They were super excited for about half a day; then, nobody cared about what they got anymore. Within a week most of what I bought them was broken or pieces were already lost. I had huge expectations of what Christmas was going to look like, and I was incredibly disappointed when it turn out the way I had planned.
Right then and there I told myself I would never do that again.
Over the years I have made Christmas what I want it to be, which is fun and peaceful. I quit buying presents, and instead the kids unwrap a destination of where we’ll be going on a trip. I now look forward to Christmas because I got rid of anything that was stressing me out. Will my kids hold it against me for not doing presents? Maybe, but that is between them and their therapist. :)
You don’t have to stop buying presents to have a great Christmas, but I am giving you six tips so that you can enjoy your holiday season.
Here are 6 tips to have a great Christmas
Lower your expectations. Expectation is the root of all heartache, so lower them. Think of a time when things didn’t go the way you thought they would or should, so you were disappointed, angry, or frustrated. The decor didn’t work out, you burned dinner, the kids are fighting, SO WHAT? Is it really worth getting worked up? The best stories are always about when things didn’t go as planned, IF you can have a good attitude about it. Come what may and love it.
Now, people usually get this confused with letting people just run wild and let the house fall apart because you’re not having any expectations. That’s not what I’m saying. There are always consequences to everyones’ actions. So, if the kids are fighting they still may lose privileges, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day.
I’ve also been asked about having no expectations with your spouse. That doesn’t mean you let someone yell or be mean to you. But, let’s say that your spouse isn’t helping you while you get things ready. So what? What are you making that mean? You can choose to make it mean the he’s a selfish jerk, OR you can make it mean A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y nothing. For me, I choose the one that brings the most peace.
Don’t hint at things you want, just say it! Have you ever been guilty of hoping to get something for Christmas, but you didn’t get it? If you want something, then just freaking say exactly what you want. Your husband and children are not mind readers.
What if you tell people what you want and they still don’t get it? Then, you go back to tip one and lower your expectations.
One Christmas I asked for white plates. I thought it would be something inexpensive my kids could get me and it was something I wanted. Did I get them? Nope. They decided to go in with dad and get me something else. I chose to be happy even though it wasn’t what I had asked for. If were being honest, what dad got me was WAY better than white plates, but I still had to make the choice to not be disappointed.
And, if you really want something, buy it yourself. Who said you can’t get yourself something for Christmas? If you’re super picky then you would probably rather pick it out anyway.
How do you want to feel about Christmas? If you know how you want to feel about Christmas, then you’ll know what actions to take to get you there. I want to feel peaceful and have fun. So, I got rid of buying Christmas presents. I don’t like shopping, I don’t want to wrap presents for my large herd of a family, and I don’t want to spend a bazillion dollars. That brings me peace.
Then it leaves more time for fun. More time for parties, more time to just hang out, and more time for Christmas movies and popcorn.
Choose how you want to feel and do what needs to be done to get there.
Be honest with your emotions and just feel them. We had an interesting conversation in Family Meeting right before Thanksgiving. I was hosting Thanksgiving for my very first time and during Family Meeting I said I might be a little antsy this week trying to get the house ready. My husband jokingly said, “might be?” I laughed and said that he was right, I was totally going to be antsy this week.
During the week I just owned feeling antsy. I didn’t get mad at people, I didn’t yell, I just felt it. There was no shame about feeling something, I had been open and honest that I was going to feel that way, and we ended up having an amazing week.
What do you usually feel during the holidays? Do you feel nervous about seeing certain people? That’s fine, feel nervous. Do you feel sad or lonely? Ok, feel sad or lonely. When you just own it, and you’re honest with yourself and your feelings it doesn’t have to consume you.
Dealing with “difficult” family members. The word difficult is relative. Just because you think someone is difficult does not make that true, because someone else might think they are the greatest person. So, you get to decide if someone is difficult or not, but know that it is only your opinion, not truth.
Anyway, so what do you with someone you find difficult? Did you realize that difficult people are the most consistent people ever? You always know what you’re going to get with them. They’ll be the first to complain, the first to tell you that you’re wrong, and the first person to cause problems, so why are you surprised when a difficult person is being difficult?
If you have a family party and you know your difficult uncle is going to be there, just plan on him being difficult, he most likely will be, you’ll be fine because you planned on that anyway, and you can still have a great time and not let it effect you.
Also, if your difficult family member is someone you see often and it’s not just a once a year grin and bear it situation, you are more than ok to give them some boundaries. Boundaries are out of respect to yourself. You can be open and give them boundaries before hand, or if you have decided ahead of time what your boundaries are, you can just enforce them as needed.
For example, if you have a boundary that someone can’t make inappropriate jokes around you. You can tell them before hand that you’ll leave the conversation if they make those jokes, or you can just leave the conversation if they make those jokes. It’s not a way to control someone else, but for you to look out for you.
Also, who said you had to go all the Christmas parties that you’re invited to? If you don’t feel comfortable or safe around the difficult person in you’re life, then don’t go. There is no law that requires you to go be with someone you don’t want to be with.
Relax. Have I said that before? Yes, only about a million times. Seriously, just relax.
Am I great at this? Nope. I am terrible at relaxing. Isn’t that funny? Who doesn’t like to relax? Me. I like to go a million miles a minute; I’m pretty sure that is why I go to bed so early and why I sleep so great.
But being able to relax about problems is such a great skill. Did you know when you are uptight and stressed about a problem your brain hyper focuses on the problem and you literally become closed minded so you cannot see a solution? If you can just relax, calm your mind down, it starts to open up and you can start to find solutions.
I hope these six tips are helpful to you to have an amazing holiday season! If you need any additional help just email me at email@example.com.