How crazy are you driving yourself right now?
A big part of holiday stress is unrealistic expectations. We want everything to be perfectly magical – and then of course, we are disappointed.
Maybe you couldn’t afford the gifts you felt people are expecting.
This is a big one, and its usually your perception – not theirs. I have many gifts that people made that I still display year after year. The givers felt bad that these were just cheap gifts, but I think they’re great – and they have held up all this time. I love all the cool and different decorations, the hand towels and the coffee mugs. My family has a lot less stress since we switched to small gifts. I should have bought more of the $1.98 Christmas towels. Everyone wants them. Go figure.
Maybe your cookies didn’t turn out perfect.
Sometimes the shapes come out a little funky. One year I tried a different recipe for the butter cookies. Me and my daughter didn’t think it was as good. But the recipients who are accustomed to store bought cookies are eating them up. We are just spoiled and picky.
Sometimes we want things that just are not going to happen.
We want our siblings to get along, relationships to be healed, or a party where no one spills red wine on the white tablecloth.
If you are hanging your heart on unreal expectations, first off you will be stressing about it all the way up to when the inevitable happens, and you let it ruin everything for you. Its better to accept that people are who they are, and make yourself a mental plan for dealing with it. Ignoring it is amazingly effective a lot of times.
If there is someone you would rather not deal with, there are other people there they can talk to. Be pleasant and excuse yourself after a couple of minutes. You have things you need to do, and other guests that need attention.
And here is the biggest tip –
Quit looking for everything you can find wrong. There is a lot of good going on. Don’t miss it by focusing on the wrong things.
Look for all the things that are good.
One thing that will help you see the good things going on is taking pictures. For some reason, that changes the way we look at things. And it will help next year when you take out the pictures of the good times.
Notice the decorations. Notice how good the food is. Notice the smiles when people open their gifts. Notice how the kids have grown and matured since last year. Be present. It will be the best present you can give yourself.
Expect to have a great holiday!