I recently asked this question on Facebook:
“What do you struggle with during the holiday season?”
It is amazing how many women open up with their struggles when you ask for help to write a blog post.
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One of the common threads in the responses is the expectation to create a magical Christmas for family and friends all while trying to be perfect in every area of life, which includes all of the following roles, in one way or another:
- Daughter (usually different perspective for each parent – I know all about that)
Let’s not forget all the roles we end up taking on or playing during the holidays:
- Party/Event Planner
- Shopper (personal shopper for everyone we buy presents for)
- Personal Shopper for those who we help buy gifts for their loved ones (aka our Dad, for Mom)
- Interior Designer
- Interior Decorator
- Exterior Decoration Designer
- Exterior Decorator
- Present Wrapper
- House Cleaner (extra cleaning)
- Grocery Getter
- Activity Creator
- Christmas Card Writer
- Stamp Licker
- Travel Agent
Where are you in YOUR holiday?
Those lists are only the ones that I can think of at this moment. If I have missed any, please post them in the comments below.
Tell me something, where in all of this are YOU? …or ME?? I am exhausted just typing those and I will confess that most years I am all of those – on both lists. No wonder I don’t fully enjoy the holiday season.
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Here is the thing ladies, we have created this. We cannot blame anyone else for all of the roles that we have taken on. As women, we tend to say, “I want Christmas to be perfect” with fake enthusiasm or we have the, “no one else will do it, so I have to” mentality. Ladies, why do we do this to ourselves? This needs to stop. Honestly, so many women tell me that they just want to enjoy their family and the season, but they can’t because they are being everything to everyone.
It’s time to take inventory. Here are a few areas of the holidays that, in my opinion, have become overrated.
Every year I write a letter about the special moments that our family has had that year. I print it on beautiful Christmas paper (that perfect paper for the year that took me hours to shop for) and I would put this letter inside the perfect Christmas card, that I personally sign. This year, 2019, would mark the 18th year of me doing this.
Please know that I do love to create these packages, but let me tell you, this year, it is not happening. I am currently building two new courses in the Live Beyond Satisfied Academy for December 31st. I am also building a new program in The Bookkeeping Boutique. As well, I am enrolled in three courses that I want to complete plus I am planning out what 2020 is going to look like for the businesses and the family. On top of all this, we have a new puppy joining our family this Christmas and we are purging our home and gifting many items to those in need.
Our new puppy
So, the time I have left this December is not going to Christmas cards. Instead, I am going to write my letter on my blog and forward the link to those that I would normally mail a card to. Now, I am sure that I am going to hear from all walks of life on how they didn’t get a card and letter. But you know what? I will honestly ignore what they say and point them to the blog post. I am not going to allow other people’s opinions and words make me feel bad for prioritizing other things before their card: #MeFirst.
The Perfect Supper
The turkey has to be perfect. The stuffing just right. The mashed potatoes cannot be lumpy. And let’s not forget… how many desserts are we making from scratch, because heaven forbid a store-bought pie, or a wicked ice cream sundae just won’t do?! I am all about the turkey dinner like nobody’s business. Seriously, I could drink my mother-in-law’s gravy in a glass. I am a woman who goes for seconds and thirds and I don’t care what anyone says.
But let’s get real here. We don’t have to have 10 different food choices on the table, and we don’t have to make multiple desserts fit for a king and his entire kingdom. The pressure and stress of the perfect supper is brought on by us… you and me. We create expectations that others have of us. Especially when it comes to things like Christmas supper. In the early (or past) years we went out of our way to make the most epic supper (which most kids won’t even eat anyways) and now it is expected of us. I know because after 25 Christmas suppers, I have an expectation of my beautiful mom-in-law to make the most epic gravy. That is MY expectation of her, not her expectation of herself.
Be Easy on Yourself
So, this Christmas, be easy on yourself. Don’t spend too much time sweating (literally) over preparing supper. Choose a few food items that your family loves. You can keep it simple and very elegant. For desserts, why not decorate cookies or build (and eat) a gingerbread house? What would make your holiday season simpler?
A side note: On December 28th we are having a gingerbread house make-off with our boys and their girlfriends. I will be posting photos on my personal Facebook page and Instagram account for my friends and community to vote on. The winner gets all the money in the pot. We made it so there is a fee to enter and the team that wins gets all the dough (no pun intended). So, watch for those posts, we would love your vote.
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The Elf… enough said!
God bless the parents who welcomed an elf onto their shelf this year. I remember how fun the first year was, finding the elf doing silly things every morning. After a few years Timmy (our elf) got really annoying as he would not move or do anything different. Some mornings he would be right where he was the morning before. I am not sure if his magic wore off or what, but this year, Timmy was suspended from his duties for one week as Santa did not allow him to return until December 7th.
Our Elf, Timmy
Do you know how many people lose sleep and gain stress because of a magic elf? Well, I do because I hear all about it from the women I coach for business and personal development. These elves cause more stress and sleepless nights than most things at this time of year. I am not saying to not host an elf, but if you want to see what other elves have been up to, visit my Pinterest board. Hopefully, this will give your elf some ideas for their silly charades.
It’s YOUR Holiday
Remember, in the end it is YOUR holiday. Live it for you and the family you love. If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, then talk to your family because chances are, they have no idea that you are feeling this way because a Christmas fit for royalty is all you have ever done. Trust me, I know… I usually decorate 10 trees inside my house, every year. Not this year, we put up four and I told the family why I was unable to commit to such an endeavour. If they wanted the other trees up, they would be responsible to put them up and take them down… those trees are still packed away in the basement. Stay tuned as I am going to write more about surviving the holidays in the coming days.