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It’s the Holiday Season: Expectations of Perfection

I decided to take some time off from writing last week to enjoy the holiday with my family.  It was a nice weekend filled with new and old traditions.  I hope your holiday weekend was relaxing and enjoyable.

Yesterday, as I was decorating the front of my house with lights and pine garland (a new tradition) I was thinking about the holiday season.  It is a time filed with traditions, events, gatherings, etc.  In other words, my friend, it is a time that can be loaded with expectations of perfection.  It is a time when the bar is set high: when the cookies have to be perfect, the parties have to be merry and the gifts have to be meaningful.  I admit over the past few years I have become more cynical about my holidays.  I use to be a big holiday girl.  I was little Ms. Christmas.  I knew all the traditions and made sure my family completed each one to perfection.  Then that got old–it is exhausting to constantly be trying to hit the expectation, trying to make each year better than the last: more merry, more joyful, more special.   So I admit I became a tiny bit of Ms. Scrooge.  I still pretended I was a big Christmas fan but inside I was tired, tired of the traditions, tired of the ‘shoulds’, tired of running from party to party, tired of finding the perfect gift just tired of forcing merry on to myself.

So then I had a brainstorm–what if I just enjoyed the holiday?  What if I didn’t worry about all the expectations and traditions?  What if I just engaged in the activities/parties/events/people with whom  I really wanted to spend my holidays?  What if I stopped running around and simply enjoyed the holiday? This small shift it has made a tremendous difference in my holiday world view.  So this holiday season I am challenging you to simplify, simplify, simplify.  As the saying goes: Remember the reason for the season.  Whether the holidays are religious or secular for you, I think we can all agree a reason for this season is to remind ourselves of the simplicity in peace and joy.  It isn’t about finding the perfect gift, wearing the perfect outfit or throwing a perfect tradition filled party.  It is about celebrating a time when the world is a little more joyful, when lights are a glow, hot cocoa is savored and family and friends gather.  It is about being in the holiday and experiencing the many joys it has to offer.

So this year I challenge you to let go of your expectations and your tradition perfection.  View the holiday season with new eyes.  Eyes of simplicity.  Recognize you have choices in how you want to spend your holiday season: whether that be running from party to party or enjoying a hot toddy next to the tree.  Simplify and enjoy.  May this Holiday Season bring you a wonderful mixture of peace and joy.

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