Sometimes, too much of a good thing is, well, too much. As December rolls along, it often begins to seem like time is running out, we get stressed, and those wonderful traditions we’ve loved, start to feel like they are turning into a part-time job.
And then there’s the pressure to be like the other families. You know, the ones who seem to be able to do it all and do it with a smile. I find myself thinking,
You made cookies, again?
- Wow, you make your gingerbread house from scratch—and it’s three stories high!
- Your children make special cards for each grandparent, aunt, uncle and cousin?
- And the matching outfits?
REALLY? I need more eggnog.
Needless to say, it can be hard to do it all and enjoy every moment of it too. That’s why, this year, I suggest something different. Instead of trying to do every tradition you can think of, pick one or two that you can do year after year. Find a tradition that isn’t too time-consuming, expensive or difficult to pull off but that is meaningful—one that your kids will remember and love as much as you do.
Hint: if the tradition involves you spending time as a family, it’s a good start.
If it involves you buying more, wrapping more, or spending time on your own feeling stressed or burdened, it’s time to re-examine why you feel it’s a valuable tradition. And yes, this might mean the holiday card doesn’t make the cut this year… (go ahead – it’s ok to do a victory dance:)
For example, when my kids were small, our family tradition each year was to go over to the rural property we owned in a neighboring state to get our Christmas tree. We’d take the whole day to do this, together as a family. We’d eat lunch on the road, cut down the tree and then stop for hot chocolate on the way home. The kids would look forward to the trip all year, and it was as meaningful for the kids as it was for the adults.
So, revisit the to-do list and see if you can prioritize the top one or two things and let go of the rest. Not only does this focus your attention on what’s attainable, but it sets an example to your kids that you’re going to choose a healthy mom over a frick’n fairy tale holiday. Find a tradition that your family enjoys, and make the most of it. Once you have accomplished your personal traditional event, everything else you do can feel like icing on the cake (or cookie).
I’d love to hear your favorite holiday traditions. Post some ideas below that might be inspiration for others seeking to simplify.