Well, the holidays are here. Again. How did that happen?
Even with my own focus on living (er, trying to live, ha!) a well-designed life, I tend to tumble into this season, unsure of exactly how I want to spend it or what I want to focus on. Sure, I have a basic idea: I want to see my family, I want to spend time with friends, I want to take my kids to a holiday church service, I want to fill our home with warm and colorful decorations and holiday music.
But a lot of other people have ideas for me, too: My husband wants me to attend holiday parties with him. Friends want to get together for coffee or a glass of wine. Family wants to stop by and see how I updated our home this year. Kids, bless their ever-loving demanding hearts, are constantly shouting a slew of demands: hot chocolate! gingerbread house! Santa Claus!
I think sometimes we all go into the holidays blindly — we buy presents and add parties to the calendar, and everything seems to be directed by us and going according to our plan — but what plan, exactly? How often do you intentionally plan how you want to spend your time — during the holidays or otherwise?
If you’re anything like me, a lot of the time — and especially during the holidays — you give away your power.
Even as I write that sentence, the realization that I still do this, every year, despite my best effort, hits me like a ton of bricks.
You (and I, guilty as charged) say “Yes” to every party, every request. The FOMO (or worse, the fear of disappointing someone) is never stronger. And though the holidays can (and should) be a happy, fun time, many of us get to January first feeling spent, burnt out, and too tired to even begin the New Year with a bang.
Worse than that, we wake up on Christmas morning wondering why the season hasn’t been more enjoyable.
It gets confusing, though, because everything that’s “required” of us during the holidays seems wonderful. No request seems stressful when we first accept it. It’s all candy canes and eggnog and party invites. And these are all wonderful things. That’s the rub, isn’t it? Very rarely do the holidays offer up an opportunity we want to decline. But you can’t do it all. And neither can I. And that’s why I’m advocating for a more intentional approach this holiday season.
A few years ago, I woke up on Christmas morning, and it was BAD. My attitude stunk. I was a Grinch and a bah-humbug, and I wasn’t very pleasant to be around. It had been a rough year, but it was a rougher morning, and things weren’t going very well, in life, or in our household that day.
Even though the day was rough, I did stop and realize that I needed to make some notes, if only mentally. The things that were going “wrong”, were preventable. But in order to prevent them from reoccurring, I needed to take actions EARLIER in the holiday season and year to make sure that they didn’t happen again.
And here’s the good news.
It’s still early enough in the holiday season for you to make some intentional decisions, to help you create the type of Christmas season you WANT to have.
Tomorrow I’ll dive into some practical ways to help you do that, but in the meantime I want you to start thinking about what you want this holiday season to be like and feel like. I promise, taking the time to do that NOW will be worth it come December 25th.