If you’re like a lot of people, you tend to look forward to the holidays in the distance, but soon find yourself more bewildered than enchanted as they come rushing over you like a runaway herd of Safari wildlife.
And we run ourselves ragged to the other side of it all trying to catch our breath in time to exhale some feeble New Year’s resolutions.
Well not this year!
This year you’re going to tame and destress the holidays, make lots of great memories, and stroll calmly into the New Year ready for your best year yet.
I just need you to answer one question.
If you came out on the other side of the holiday season having accomplished only one thing, what would that have to be for you to consider it a successful time?
What is the biggest reason you look forward to this time of year – if you had to pick just one?
Since having kids, our favorite part of the holiday season is celebrating with family.
If we boiled the whole season down to one thing, that’s what it would be – family.
So why do we allow our lives to become so harried and full of extraneous stuff???
I know there are plenty of people and organizations and situations to blame – after all, it’s probably the busiest time of year for guilt-trip travel agencies everywhere.
“What will the church group think of me if I don’t help carol at the retirement home?”
“I’ve got to pack an Operation Christmas Child box and get my Angel Tree gifts and I better take something to the food pantry. It’s for the children.”
“You can’t ignore the Salvation Army bell ringers. THEY’RE STANDING OUTSIDE IN THE COLD, what have you done?!”
Those kinds of guilt-trip opportunities try to bombard us from all sides, but we can avoid many of them or brush them off more easily if we don’t have a personal connection. Too often, though, it’s our own minds sneaking off and volunteering as guilt-trip travel agents – spamming our thoughts with ticket sales that seem too hard to ignore.
“I have to get something good for her, she spent a lot on me last year.”
“The Jone’s kids each get 10 presents, how are my kids going to feel being around that when they only got 5?”
“Everyone else is doing Elf on the Shelf and I barely got a tree put up!”
And on, and on, and on, and on…
Each year gets just a little busier, just a little Pinterest-ier…
But you don’t have to buy a ticket on the Guilt-Trip Express.
What if instead you wrote a family mission statement or creed of sorts for your holiday season?
Ours might be:
Spend time with family making memories and loving others; take time to reflect on the past year, seeking God for wisdom in planning for the next.
If we put it in goal form instead, it might look like this:
- Spend time with family and love people well.
- Reflect on the past year and plan for the next.
- Don’t go into January with a wrecked budget.
What if you based the success of your holidays solely on that creed or goals?
What if you filtered all of your decisions and “obligations” for the season through that lens, and let yourself off the hook for everything that didn’t support or enhance your purpose?
This might seem easier said than done, but why not sit down as a family and see if you can get on the same page about your real goals for the holiday season.
Invite your extended family into the discussion if you feel comfortable doing that – you might solve some pesky issues.
Your mission statement doesn’t need to look anything like ours, but I do recommend that you keep it very simple and basic. You can get more detailed in your planning, but this part should focus on your underlying purpose.
Are you ready to stop putting unnecessary expectations on yourself?
This month we’re coming out of a bit of a hibernation to post something every single day as part of a blog series focusing on SIMPLIFYING this time of the year, so check out this page for a sneak peak of some of what you can expect and join the conversation!