Have you ever noticed that the second you walk into a store the day after Halloween that Christmas is blasting you in the face? Before you even get a chance to breathe and make it through one holiday the excitement and stress of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year hit full force. For many, mixed emotions can make the holidays feel overwhelming and chaotic.
So how do we make it real and authentic? We have to be intentional about our holidays from the onset.
I’ve found that the best way to ensure a successful holiday season is to be prepared. It almost follows a similar process to organizing a closet or any other space. First, I encourage you to start with your goal for the holidays. Whether your goal is creating new traditions or feeling peaceful, connected, & happy, you can use that goal to identify your priorities.
Now, make a list. List all the ideas you have for reaching your goal for the holidays. This could be the people you need/want to visit, the family outings you want to achieve, decorating, etc. It can be anything that takes up your time during these extremely busy months.
Not all of the ideas you have will help you reach your goals. So then, you need to edit the list. Keep the items that make the most sense to your family during this season of your life. Try thinking about these things while you edit down:
What is worth keeping right now?
What is worth letting go of?
What is worth tabling for a future holiday season?
Now, get those items on the calendar. You can then revisit all of the plans you’ve made when you look at your calendar throughout the months. Is it enough to meet your holiday goals or do you need to edit down? Is there room to add something if you need to?
Having this plan in place will help alleviate a lot of the stress that the holidays bring and will help keep you and your family from overcommitting and able to make space for that much needed downtime.
And leaving room to adjust as needed will make for a happier season.
Be honest with yourself. You cannot do it all—there just isn’t enough time and energy to make every little thing happen. That’s okay. To truly enjoy your holidays in a very real and authentic way, you need to give yourself permission to say no to some things.
I like to think of it as the big rocks and the little rocks—you have the really important pieces/events that need to happen and then the little moments that you want to happen but don’t necessarily need. Once you have all the big rocks in place, you can fill in the little rocks as time and space allow.
And sometimes, adjusting expectations can lead to new traditions.
I’ve found that the real joy and magic of the holiday season is in creating new traditions. Especially, when you have blended families with their own traditions on each side. Bringing those special moments into an entirely new experience can be the start to something extraordinary.
I’ve learned, over the years, that sometimes shifting our focus to new traditions and embracing them can be a huge relief. It can also be eye-opening and allow you to experience a whole new holiday season. One of my favorite new traditions happened as my family blended about five years ago. As our cultures combined, his family introduced me to Korean food on Thanksgiving—specifically Bulgogi, rice, and Kimchi.
The first time I experienced these foods on Thanksgiving I didn’t know what to make of them. Now, every Thanksgiving these dishes are a tradition for our family and honestly what we all look forward to most. So we have Bulgogi and rice. Turkey has become more of a holiday side dish along with mashed potatoes, dressing, and more. And I am so excited because this year I get to share this new tradition with my side of the extended family.
Remember, new traditions do not have to be forced. They may be something that form on their own and get embraced over time. They may just fall into place unexpectedly—that is the magic of traditions!
While new traditions can happen as your life changes and evolves, you can still hold on to the ones you love the most. If decorating your home for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving is your thing—do it! Keep up that tradition for yourself. If you aren’t a fan of Elf on the Shelf because it’s just another thing you have to remember every night, don’t feel like you have to do it. No one is making you keep these traditions. They just have to include what you comfortably feel fits your time, space, and budget for that year.
As moms and parents and heads of households, we try to do it all for our children so that they create unforgettable memories during the holidays. But, are we doing too much? As your children grow up they don’t always remember every little detail of every holiday.
Holidays on purpose with timeless traditions are moments that will help them remember the people and things that were most important to them as they grew up.
The smell of sugar cookies baking.
The excitement of pulling out the holiday decorations together.
Matching holiday pajamas.
Special gifts on Christmas Eve.
These little moments are ones that are easy to maintain and create lasting memories for everyone involved.
Remember that having a stress-free holiday season comes down to mindset. Making your best plan, allowing room for adjustments, and embracing new experiences will make your holiday season the merriest of all.
Originally posted NOVEMBER 19, 2021