Stress ‘Free’ Holidays?

HolidayDuring the holidays, we know what we want: we want everything to be as near to perfect as possible.  We want to be surrounded with loving family and friends, to send holiday cards that reflect our family’s personality, to have the right gifts, for our homes to be clean and decorated to our specifications, for all of our work to be done and for everything to be in harmony.  Why does that ideal continually remain beyond our grasp?

Some say we need to be more organized, more on top of things, start earlier and remain more focused on the goal.  Others say, we need to cut our lists of people, gifts, cards and events, and focus on the remaining portion and we will be better able to get things done and achieve our ‘new and improved’ ideal.

I say, no way.  Don’t become an organized drill sergeant or don’t accept a fraction of what you want – instead, breathe and laugh.

The holiday traditions and the holidays themselves are ridiculous.  We make lists, buy gifts and cards, bake cookies, put-up decorations inside & outside of our homes, stock-up on food, cook like fiends and then invite Uncle Fester and Aunt Cleophis, who are feuding, into our homes and expect great things.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE the holidays – I think they are fabulous.  I love the activity, the feelings behind the gift exchange, the receiving of wonderful holiday cards from family & friends, and the opening of my home to let the merriment begin.

However, I think the expectations are too much.  I think we all set ourselves up for failure.  Who cares if the cookies are store bought or home made?  Who cares if the gift is not absolutely perfect?  Who cares if we have a turkey or ham or if we have spaghetti on the day?  Who cares if the holiday card picture is not ‘picture-perfect’? (We have yet to attain one, by the way.)   Who cares if the decorations are lop-sided?

The answer – no one.  No one cares.  As we get older, I think we begin to realize this, so let’s speed up the process.  Let us say that no one cares.  Well, that’s a relief and if no one cares, then we can let go of some of these expectations and we can take a breath and we can laugh when things go ‘wrong’.

Because, they do – things go wrong. The gift arrives broken or late, the cashier is hassled or belligerent, traffic is a mess, the kids pinch and scowl during the holiday card ‘photo shoot’, the cookies burn, the turkey dries out, Uncle Fester says something completely inappropriate, and on and on.

So this holiday season – let’s just take a breath, think about something funny and laugh.  Laugh right out loud – in your car, as you’re getting your mail, or standing in line at the grocery store – laugh.  So you look like a lunatic – who cares?  We’ve already ascertained that no one cares.  So laugh.  Breathe & then Laugh.

Happy, Happy Holidays.