Glittering lights, amazing food, family… although the holidays are a joyful, exciting time, it’s also easy to get caught up in the struggle of making it perfect–perfect for your spouse, your children, your in-laws. And anytime the word perfect comes into play, stress is sure to rear its ugly head. Why are we really trying to “get it all done?” We say it’s for the ones we love, but could it also be so our loved ones’ perceptions of us remains, “The perfect mother, wife, friend, hostess, daughter, boss, wonder woman, etc.” Do we need the validation of their opinions to feel complete? Sadly, this is often the case, and at the sacrifice of our health and well-being.
Often, as the stress to be perfect during Christmas starts to build, we set our expectations of perfection too high and end up abandoning them altogether within the last couple weeks left of the year. Wouldn’t it have been better to just make a deal with yourself (and your higher power) not to have such golden, perfect expectations and focus on just enjoying the holidays? Even if your napkins aren’t pressed, the outside lights aren’t as “Starry Nights” as your neighbor’s, and your child has to settle for a different toy instead of the sold-out Xbox (which you searched 50 places for and contemplated black market activity to acquire,) you will have a great Christmas. Why, because you are a beautiful, strong women who has created an amazing family. The devil of discontentment is in the details, seriously.
I’m writing this because I’ve lived an incredibly hectic life over the past 6 years and if I held onto all of the traditions and minutia I thought were important to define my happiness I would be as bald as Bruce Willis from stress. And I know that your lives are just as hectic.
So, next time you start to fret about the lattice on your blueberry pie not looking perfect, or that the present you got your child’s teacher doesn’t truly express, “your true gratitude for their devotion to your child’s education,” chill. People will be happy you made a fabulous pie and the teacher will be thankful for the gift (everyone needs more bath soap and candles, right)?
How do you de-stress during the holidays? Is perfection all-consuming or do you go with the flow? Enjoy this last week before Christmas and as always, keep counting!