For many of us, this is the busiest time of year. Social events and family gatherings fill our calendars, and activities like cooking, decorating, and shopping can seem more like chores than traditions.
In addition, our work lives often become more hectic as well. Yearend deadlines loom, while staff is often short as employees use accrued time off. Holiday schedules affect everything from mail turn around and payment terms to services available.
And the end result, at work and at home, seems to be stress. When you add in the unrealistic expectations we often place on ourselves of having a picture-perfect holiday, it’s not surprising that many people feel let down, disappointed, or unhappy during the holidays.
To keep the December frenzy from leaving you in a frazzle, pledge now to give yourself the first gift. The gift of not having to meet unrealistic expectations, whether your own or someone else’s. Traditions are wonderful, but as our families expand and we add new traditions, we may need to reevaluate. A tradition that becomes more drudgery than delight may need to be set aside for a time.
If baking Aunt Martha’s Christmas Cookies indeed brings you joy, then by all means, heat up that oven. But Christmas will not be ruined if you simply do not have time to bake or make special handmade treats for every neighbor, church member, and co-worker.
And if your budget does not stretch to include the latest popular gadgets, with room for gifts for everyone on your list, while also allowing generous donations to worthy causes, please do not put yourself and your family in credit card debt to keep up appearances. It’s far too costly and stressful in the long run.
Give yourself and your loved ones the gift of perspective this year. Figure out what’s important and focus on what you can do without stretching yourself or your resources too thin. Don’t let stress rob you of a joyful holiday.