This year, we are entering the week of Christmas in a world that looks very different than others we have seen. Many of us will have a holiday celebration that does not resemble what we are accustomed to enjoying. You may have a smaller gathering or no gathering at all. You may have had a job loss in the family so your celebration is on a stricter budget. You may have lost a loved one this year and are facing the holidays with grief. No matter what your holiday looks like this year, you need to remember these things to survive with peace.
When it comes to the holidays, moms have a tendency to get worked up trying to make it all perfect. I have caught myself on way too many occasions holding my breath while giving my family everything they need. The advice on the airplane is true, “put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others.” You will be no good to others if you don’t take care of yourself. That means you need to take a few minutes to breathe. If you have to lock yourself in the bathroom to get that breather, do it! They will survive without you for a few minutes.
2. FAVORITE HOT BEVERAGE
Whether your preference is coffee, tea, cocoa or cider, fill up a cup and enjoy the aroma. (This goes hand in hand with step #1.) Hot beverages are known to be comforting and calming. Sip slowly and feel the warmth as it travels down your body. Being aware of that sensation is part of a mindfulness practice. You deserve to enjoy a cup of your favorite beverage no matter what chaos is about to ensue.
3. CHECK YOUR EXPECTATIONS
As I mentioned above, moms are often the driver’s of this thing called “family holiday happiness.” We try so hard to make things perfect for everyone. The truth is that no matter what we do or don’t do, our family will still love us. Children’s emotions will still be on edge with the excitement of the holiday, no matter what we do. It happens every year. Your celebration may be Rockwell painting worthy or it may be so much more simple this year. The world does not rest on your shoulders mama! You can rest easy that a different holiday will still be a holiday.
One of the most important things we can do is decide what is most important to us in the holiday season. What are your top three things that matter most to you? Is it the big family meal? Is it the gift opening process? Is it the games or movies that you share as a family? Is it reading the Bible verses? Is it making cookies together? Is it singing Christmas carols? Is it driving to see holiday lights? Whatever it is, throw yourself into that. Don’t try to do it all! It is okay to skip the things that are not as important to you.
Can we talk mom presents for a moment? Moms, we need to check our expectations here as well. You know how it goes...the children open their presents and your spouse is just as surprised as they are at what is inside. I know, we do it every year. Mom’s take care of the gift purchasing and wrapping for so many people. Who takes care of Mom’s presents? No matter who it is in your family, you may end up with another bathrobe. (Did you see this on SNL?) I’ve decided that I will expect a bathrobe this year. If I get one, yay me! If I get something else, that will be an awesome surprise. Now it’s a win-win situation!
4. SAVOR THE MOMENTS
The holidays are all about the moments big and small that hold so much heart meaning for us. If your holiday has been downsized this year, that doesn’t mean there are not moments of joy along the way. I plan to savor all of those moments this year, especially. From the smiles and laughs as presents are being opened to the mirth and joy at discovering what is in that mystery package without a tag. We get to enjoy it all! Don’t forget to notice the little things. Count your blessings. They are so important.
5. CONNECT WITH OTHERS
Maybe you have a plan in place already to call or Facetime or Zoom with family and friends that are not joining you this year. If you don’t already have a plan, make one. This benefits you and the people on the other end of the call. Our sanity depends on those connections. Whether it feels natural or awkward, make the effort. We have learned that trying to do it all by ourselves is isolating. We can connect with others over the fact that things are hard and share some of our small moments that bring us joy. Everyone will be happier for it.
I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas! Take care of you and enjoy the moments along the way.
Did you miss my article on mindfulness? You can read it here.
I have created a yearly planner that is a downloadable pdf file to help you stay organized in the new year. Check it out over here.
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