Hey. Sorry for the yelling title, but what I have to say is important. But before I get into that, I first want to address the fact that The Holidays are hard for a lot of people. For whatever reason; sobriety, strained or even estranged relationships, missing dear loved ones. It can be hard. And for those that find themselves in that category, will you please accept my most sincere and most empathetic hand squeeze or hug or whatever feels right? I hope you have someone you love and trust to be with or talk to. Sending you all my real love through cyberspace.
Alright, now back to yelling. I'm here to tell all of you that you need to relax. I see your list and I see your schedule, and I see your bank account. (Not really, but stay with me here). You have that perfect Pinterest holiday season brewing in your head. There will be matching pjs and elves on shelves doing amazing things on shelves. Christmas cookies will be photographed in portrait mode and posted on every platform. Gifts are already bought and wrapped. Cards have been sent, (and you didn't forget ANYONE) gifts for the mailman, the bus driver, teachers, the dog walker and for the love of Kris Kringle, THERE WILL BE YULETIDE CHEER AND MERRIMENT ALL SEASON LONG!
Phew. I'm exhausted just thinking about your hypothetical holiday I just made up for you. I know perfection is a hyperbolic term, but when we scroll through a world where a “candid” photo is probably definitely photoshopped, it can be really hard to let go of our own expectations and we get sucked into that filtered world. I get that you want it to be just right and just so for everyone you love in your life, but I want to be the Ghost of Christmas Reality and warn you that falling into that trap of Instagram perfection is a dangerous hole. You risk missing those moments that aren't on your list, the ones you never planned, that somehow end up being the most important.
Your cookies will look terrible, but humming Jingle Bells with your 7 year old while you were decorating them is something you will both remember for years to come. Your tree will only have half of the ornaments it usually does, but watching your baby explore her world with the soft glow of the Christmas lights on her cheeks is worth leaving them all in the box. You’re going to miss your company Christmas party, but the snuggles and popcorn you shared with your tween watching a cheesy Hallmark movie turned out to be a higher priority. (Who knew?) Your Christmas card is a snapshot you took last week and posted on Facebook, but it was a fabulous photo, and you’re going to love that memory when it comes up every year.
My wish for you is that you know you are enough. Whatever offering of Yuletide cheer and merriment is presented before the ones you love, it is enough. Because lists won’t be completed, money and time will run out and January will be here in a flash. But you made some golden memories along the way and soaked in that universal feeling of love and peace that will always show up for the ones that seek it.
So post those imperfect cookies and feel free to turn down that one extra party invite. It’s going to be ok. You are enough. (And maybe someday I’ll tell you about the time we accidentally bought a dead tree and had to throw it away on December 5th. Tears and wailing followed by both adults and children.)
Was this a helpful pep talk? You got this! I want to know your best strategies for keeping the stress out of the season!