Holiday Memories Happen Over the Years

Dec 18, 2023

Every year at the holidays, do you struggle to squeeze in as much as you can, wanting to create the best memories possible for your kids?  In the process, do you miss out on the Joy of the Season because you are running around trying to get everything done?

Trust me - I get it!  For so many years that was me!  I was so busy with holiday cards and gifts for everyone for both home and work, baking cookies to make cookie trays for friends and family.  I was present for the holiday concerts and school parties, and made sure the kids had the right dress clothes for all the events.  The lights in the windows that had to be turned on and off every day — and don’t even get me started on the daily elf antics, or the fact that our elves decided it would be fun to have a scavenger hunt for the kids on Christmas Day with clever clues and hiding places.

I wanted everything to be perfect, but as a result I spent the entire month of December (or more) as one big ball of stress and overwhelm.  Does that sound familiar?  Every year I would say that next year was going to be different.  I was going to plan better and start sooner, but it didn’t seem to matter —  I was still just as cranky and stressed out, trying to do everything, every single year.

One year when the kids were older, we decided to do a big trip instead of gifts.  Because we were going to be away, we cut back on so many things.  I finally found the relaxing holiday season I’d wished for — Not because I planned better or did things sooner, but because I did so much LESS.  Less decorating, less baking, less shopping, less, less, less — and because of doing less, my holidays became so much MORE.  More time to just be present with my family and actually enjoy it.

That year I realized that I didn’t have to do everything, every single year.  And now that my kids are older, I can see that we gave our kids wonderful holiday memories over the years: We rode the Polar Express, we had breakfast with Santa, we saw the Nutcracker, we made cookies, our house was decorated beautifully, we had a great holiday party, we took an amazing family trip, and had fun scavenger hunts for gifts.

One year we got our tree so late we ended up with a Charlie Brown Christmas tree and that turned out to be one of our kids' funniest memories.  Who knew?!  Drop perfection and enjoy the season!  

Holiday memories happen over the years, not every year.   

When you try to do everything, you can end up being cranky, overwhelmed and stressed so you can’t have any fun doing all of the activities that you have on your list.  When you do less, you are more relaxed and can actually have fun doing what you are doing that year.  

I don’t know about you, but my family is way happier with the more relaxed and fun me.  They definitely did not enjoy that cranky stress-pot that was trying to do it all! 

My holiday advice for parents with younger children — don’t try to make every year perfect!  Relax, and figure out where you can do less.    

Best wishes for a very Happy Holiday!

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