“May peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!” -Author Unknown
It’s busy. I get it. After all, it’s the holidays! And for many of us, we might even say that it’s our favorite time of the year. But if we could be honest, it’s also our busiest time of year. What does your December look like?
It may include any number of the following: Plays, parades, musicals, parties (oh so many), kid’s class parties, Christmas photos, Christmas cards, decorating, baking, shopping, teacher’s gifts, and more! If you have little littles, it’s probably very challenging to do this with them at your feet! And if you’re a single mom, I can only imagine how overwhelming it might feel, trying to get everything done on your own.
I have 3 words for you that just might change everything…. Let it go.
This Christmas season, what if we decided that we were going to be okay with not doing everything? What if we gave ourselves permission to just do some of the things but not everything? What would happen if we gave ourselves grace and let some things go this year?
I have a friend who said every year the process of Christmas cards would stress her out to the max. She had to first pick out the perfect color scheme for the outfits, then purchase the clothing items she didn’t have yet, then hire the photographer, and then pick the perfect spot.
And finally came the morning of the photos. You guys know what I’m talking about here — getting everyone picture perfect for the photos. And it is so stressful! Someone is usually cranky, there’s always someone not wanting to cooperate, everyone just wants to be done, you’re trying to feed them while not getting food stains on their outfits, and you, through gritted teeth, growl, “Just smile, I just need one good picture here people.” And if that doesn’t work, you resort to bribing… err.. I mean, rewards… lol. “If we all get one good photo, I’ll buy you all something from Target!” Anybody?!!
My friend had done this for probably 10 years in a row, and one year she told me she was even more stressed about it than normal. After talking it through with her, she decided she was going to go through their closets and pick what they had, and then have a friend come over and take a couple of photos with her camera. You guys… I could feel the weight of the world being lifted from her shoulders with that decision.
I’ve done Christmas cards every year since I was pregnant with my first born. Seriously. There was one year it was all just too much. I gave myself permission to not do or send out Christmas cards, and guess what? The world didn’t stop and I didn’t die!
I wonder how many of us could use a pass this Christmas season? How many of you reading this need to let go of some things in order to really relax and enjoy your friends and family this holiday season?
Here’s what I know — we don’t have to say yes to every single party and event, we don’t have to make home-made goodies for every occasion (thank you Wal-Mart and H-E-B). We don’t have to fight our kids to wear the fancy dresses and stuffy collared shirts for every outing (my teenage boys wore athletic wear to a Christmas play this week… gasp). We don’t have to make home-made gifts for everyone on our list, we don’t have to send out Christmas Cards every year, and we don’t have to decorate like Martha Stewart because that’s what we’ve always done.
Ways to simplify this holiday season:
- Set Boundaries. Be okay with saying no. Brene’ Brown said, “We care far too much about what everyone will think — Will they like me? Will they be disappointed in me? Will they think less of me if I don’t do what everyone else is doing or what I’ve always done? What if we gave ourselves permission to let go of others expectations and just did what we could? Boundaries are not easy, but they are worth it. Nothing is sustainable without boundaries.” You will burn out without setting boundaries.
- Let it go. Some years the Christmas cards will be one of your dog next to a tree, or perhaps nothing at all. It’s okay- we all have our seasons! Make a list of everything you need to get done and see where you can let some things go.
- Schedule family nights. Leave some nights blocked out on the calendar. Order in (or use the crock-pot), play games, and watch a Christmas movie. Make time to just be home and relax with your family and make special memories!
Let. It. Go.
Do what you can do and let go of what you can’t. And give yourself the best gift this Christmas season… grace. Unwrap it every day! And your gift to yourself will also be a gift to others. Because the best gift you can give others, that doesn’t cost a thing, is a peace-FULL you! If you learn the art of letting things go, you will be able to give your friends and family the best gift of all: your present to them will be your presence.