Avoiding Holiday Stress: Part II


I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays.  I LOVE the music, the lights, the TV specials, spending time with family and friends.  I HATE the stress, don’t you? Social media certainly doesn’t help; no one takes pictures of the cake that collapsed on itself, the toddler having a temper tantrum meltdown, the lopsided tree, or the cat batting the ornaments all over the house.

Nope, the pictures we see are all the best of the best and sometimes make me feel as though everyone has it all together…except me. I bookmark pictures of perfectly decorated trees, smiling children dressed in holiday party-best, gorgeous rooms with nothing out of place, and party food displayed in an appetizing assortment of colors and tastes.  My Pinterest account is overflowing with “should do” ideas and my camera is loaded with a laughable assortment of what I lovingly refer to as “Pinterest-fails”. Just keeping it real here, folks.  LOL!

Part of my problem is that I’m trying to do it all myself.  I have come to realize that the holidays are not just for me, but for everyone, and everyone can take part in the preparation and the celebration! This was a huge shift in my thinking and has helped me relax and focus on what is important. Here are some tips that helped me make it all more manageable.

If you’re like me, you want everything to be extra nice for the holidays.  Don’t try to do it all yourself, share the jobs.  My son is grown now, but I used to make a list of jobs that needed to be done. I learned from experience that you have to be specific – put down details of how it should be done, the supplies needed to do the job, and when it needs to be completed. Now cut the job list apart, fold each piece of paper, and put them in a hat, a basket, or a job jar.  I have the cutest job jar all decorated for Christmas. Each family member reaches in and selects a job or two, or even three; somehow this became a tradition that we looked forward to. Finally, each person tapes their jobs next to their name on a chart on the refrigerator.  Getting ready for the holidays has now become a family affair and everyone will enjoy the results as you get things ready for a wonderful holiday!

Remember to give yourself permission to let it be less than perfect. My family constantly reminds me that a house and garden style magazine crew is not coming to photograph my home. Bet they aren’t coming to yours either! So just take a deep breath, relax, take lots of pictures, and gather precious memories. When you look back on the 2017 holiday season, you won’t remember if the throw pillows were perfectly fluffed; you will remember the magical, joyful moments you shared with your family.  So, from my slightly messy home to all of you, Merry Christmas!

Author: Jennifer C. Walts, Ed.D.

I am a retired educator and School Improvement Specialist.

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