Thursday, December 17, 2015

Overcoming Holiday Overwhelm Part One

If we send out the Christmas cards before Christmas 
no one will know that we are not on top of everything.

The words stung as they fell from my lips.

Advent and Christmas have always been one of my favorite times of year.
The magic of the season is something I relish.
Growing up I not only daydreamed of the upcoming Christmas, 
but also of the day when I was grown and celebrating Christmas in my own home with my husband.

Everything in them was perfect.

The house glowed with happiness, twinkling lights, and the warmth of a kitchen in the process of baking cookies.
 My red sweater highlighting the auburn hidden in my dark curls and complimenting his plaid button down topped with a shawl collar cardigan, made for the flawless Christmas card photo shoot.
And, of course, under the tree (which we lovingly picked out at a nearby farm and brought into our home) neatly decked in Christmas wrapping was the ideal present for the man of my dreams and something sweet and sentimental addressed to me.

Those dreams built up high expectations within myself.
Living up to them has not been as beautiful as anticipated.
Forcing the magic of Christmas does not work out so well.
Neither does attempting to create the perfect Christmas.
It only leads to overwhelmed frustration, spats, disappointments, and tears.

Wrapped up in those words were all the pressures I placed on myself and my family, as well as, 
a call to re-evaluate and learn and re-learn some lessons.

Things do not need to be perfect.

Letting go of perfectionism is so hard.
Doing it in a world inundated with perfect pictures is even harder.
But when I step back and think about my own childhood Christmases I have to admit they weren't perfect. The imperfections, however, were all part of the magic and memories.

Set your priorities and move forward.

Saying yes to one thing often means saying no to others.
It is so freeing to once you accept this fact.
I may want to do it all,
but after asking myself what were the things that Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without, it was a lot easier to move forward on the most important things for us.
Sending Christmas cards was on that list,
but by the twelfth day of Christmas not before Thanksgiving.

Traditions grow over time.

My family traditions weren't all present at my parents' first Christmas and neither were his family traditions. Some of our traditions are the same, others seem to contradict each other, and then there's the ones that we are still learning about or don't quite understand.
Traditions are only truly traditions because they happen over time 
and we have plenty of time to discover our own.

The real reason for all of this is a little baby born in an unadorned manger.
Nothing is more simple and beautiful than a newborn.
All the frills of Christmas loose their meaning if they aren't to honor this gift.

 Come back tomorrow for Part Two!

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