Keeping this month’s article short and sweet because we know that this season is chock full of additional, and often unrealistic, expectations–entertaining relatives, parties, decorating, shopping, wrapping, cooking, and cleaning. Emotions run high as most are sharing this seasonal stress, as well as crowded mall parking lots. Number one way to lower your stress? Crazy as it sounds, do less! Or, less perfectly. For those of you rolling your eyes, here’s the truth: If you choose otherwise, don’t be surprised to find yourself sick, exhausted and ornery through this joyous celebration.
What do I mean by do less? I went to a holiday party, and the homemade stuffed mushrooms someone brought were devoured and enjoyed, but then again, so was the Costco shrimp platter. Although I appreciated receiving the finely wrapped thyme candle hostess gift, I also appreciated my friend who showed up with a bottle of wine minus bag or bow. Find the shortcuts and embrace them. It doesn’t mean you’re somehow less than. It means you’re more savvy, and gives others permission to do the same.
Holiday festivities are supposed to be fun. If you know you’ll leave happier, show up. If you’re dreading it, don’t accept the invitation. Simply say, “No, I won’t be able to attend the (fill in the blank), but I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time.” If pushed, you can respond, “The timing doesn’t work this year.” It’s okay to be missed.
Rather than put up a Christmas tree, hang a beautiful wreath or create a mantel display. Skip the greeting cards and send a photo card from next year’s vacation if you must.
Just remember, no one’s life resembles the commercials and magazine spreads that portray the holidays as one warm, glowing experience. Don’t even go on Pinterest! Life and love are messy. It is that messiness that provides perspective and allows us to appreciate the incredible beauty that surrounds us.
Give yourself the gift of doing less or doing things less perfectly. Seek connection, not perfection to discover the true joy of the season.