It is “the most wonderful time of the year.” But with the tinsel comes stress and too much to do and not enough time to do it. We are inundated with the way the holidays “should” look and think that if we can just get everything done “early”, that will solve all of our problems. Or if we can just be more organized then we will finally enjoy the holiday season.
Heather here from FamilyVolley.com and although it is true that organization is helpful, if you feel too much holiday stress, it is probably because you need to do more than just plan ahead.
It is going to take a little bit of soul searching and a willingness to modify if necessary (and for most of us it is necessary), but if we are willing, this season can be our best yet!
Here are three questions/exercises that we can all answer to genuinely enjoy this holiday season and the ones to come.
Sit down and ask yourself the following questions…
1. What are our family’s goals for the holidays?
One of the best ways to answer this question is to divide a paper in half and at the top of one side write NEEDS and at the top of the other write VALUES. Now, go through and fill in the needs and values of your family.
Once this is filled in, the answers manifest as your goals for the season (and for the rest of the year too :).
2. Does my holiday celebration focus on the parts of the holiday that I feel are most important?
For example, if you feel that service is an important part of the holiday’s (and have it listed as one of your values), do your activities and celebration choices focus on service? Do you feel Christ is an important part of the holidays, but you are so busy doing other things that you rarely have time to talk of Him? Do you believe in saving energy but your house/tree is lit up with excess lights, just because the neighbors do it?
Look back at your needs and values and see if the activities fit.
These questions can be tricky but they really help us get to the heart of what matters to us and our families and helps us move to the next question to decide what we should do to make our holidays less stressful and more amazing.
3. What part of our holiday celebrations could we change so that we can spend more time on what matters?
This question becomes action when we sit and write down ALL of the things we did last year and are responsible for. From neighbor gifts to exchanging gifts with married siblings, reading the story of the birth of Christ, decorating a tree, Elf on the Shelf. If it was part of the holidays in any way for you, write it all down.
Now go back to your list and put things in three categories.
1. What can we get rid of all together?
2. What do we do that we want to keep, but we can modify to better fit our goals (Simplify)?
3. What must stay, no matter what? (Keep in mind your goals)
I asked myself these questions a few years ago. The holidays had become so stressful they were no longer fun. I found myself on Pinterest toooo much, trying to collect ALL the ideas to do it all. I would stay up too late, or become too busy during the day trying to get them all done. Because of course I wanted to create the perfect holiday for our family. Only to feel guilt when I couldn’t get everything just perfect.
So I sat down and made myself come face to face with what was most important. That season we got rid of Elf on the Shelf. Not because it was bad, but because it didn’t fit into our goals. Another thing we changed that year was that I let our children help with things, starting with the tree. For years I was all about the perfectionism of the tree. I did it so it looked just a certain way. But I realized that by doing it alone, I was going against one of our goals which is to spend more time together as a family. So I let it go. That year I carefully took out the few heirloom ornaments that have come from grandparents and great grandparents (that I worried would get broken), and then, I invited the kids to decorate the tree with me. I taught them little tips and tricks like spreading out ornaments of the same color instead of putting them in a clump, we talked about all the stories behind the ornaments, and we laughed a lot. Just turning over that one job took so much stress off of my shoulders and added so much joy for our children. Now it is something the kids can do on their own. Last year I sat on the couch and chatted with them the whole time while they hung all the ornaments and told me the stories behind each one. The tree always looks beautiful and it is one less stress for me. Decorating the tree is something that needed to stay for our family, but the modification makes things less stressful.
Regardless of the stress level you feel at this time of year, the above questions are powerful ways to make the season bright. Take a few minutes on your own and then with your family to discuss what means the most and then be strong enough to weed out the rest. You will LOVE the result!
Have a question, or just want to say hello? You can find me at FamilyVolley.com. On Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. Or send me an email. I love making new friends!
P.S. Don’t miss my new online podcast! The LIVING ROOM! The show made iTunes TOP 10 in the New and Noteworthy Category, 6 weeks running!
Do you ever wonder if you are the only woman who runs errands in yoga pants so it will look like you went to the gym? Or feed your kids raw cookie dough? Or do you think your the only one who “cooks” her family cereal for dinner?
Do you need more laughter and less loudness, more self-love and less self-loathing, more joy and less judgement? You are not alone!
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