“…There are often many things we feel we should do that, in fact, we don’t really have to do. Getting to the point where we can tell the difference is a major milestone in the simplification process.” ~Elaine St. James
The holiday season is a time filled with traditions we love.
It’s also a time to reflect on all the people and all the things in our lives that are dearest to us. It’s a time to spend with loved ones and to celebrate the many ways we are blessed.
And while it can be the most joyous time of the year, it can come with its challenges.
The holidays can be stress-inducing and anxiety producing. We sometimes go overboard and overbook, and overextend.
We want to be sure we are doing it all, seeing it all, and being it all. We want to decorate, to bake, to find perfect, thoughtful presents. We want to be with all our loved ones as much as possible and to be fully present in the moment.
We want to have time to do all the things that make us happy and make the holiday season feel complete or like a success.
But there’s another side to all this.
So often we get caught up in doing what we’ve always done, year after year, that we often find ourselves maintaining traditions out of habit, even if it’s not what we truly want to do.
“Just because something is traditional is no reason to do it, of course.” ~Lemony Snicket
We know this, deep down in our soul, but still we find ourselves driving five hours in a snowstorm to join a get together with friends we’ve barely maintained contact with all year long, just because.
Or we cook for twelve hours straight—like we’ve always done—to have everyone over, even though we didn’t have the time or the means or the energy to do it.
We do this because we are kind. And let’s face it; we do this because we can be big wimps. It’s not easy to just stop long-held traditions, especially when a part of us is still attached to the old ways.
After all, what might happen? What will people think?
But as we continue to grow, it’s important to stop now and then to see if our old plans still fit into our lives.
Here are two questions you need to keep at the forefront of your mind:
What do you really want to be doing with your time this holiday season?
Who do you really want to be with?
Here’s something to remind yourself of:
It’s impossible to please everyone and even more impossible to do it all.
So since you won’t be able to, you might as well do the things and be with the people who will bring you the most peace and joy.
I repeat: This holiday season vow to do the things and to be with the people who will bring you the most peace and joy. (Tweet that!)
I’m not suggesting you take off to Tahiti—with visions of umbrella drinks dancing in your head—unless that’s what you really want to do. I’m simply wondering if we can just do a better job of checking in with ourselves to do what feels authentic, real and right to us.
Don’t we owe it to ourselves to make the holiday season the most meaningful it can be—for us, and for the people we spend our time with?
Yes, it can be hard to cut off our old habits. That’s human nature. But if it feels impossible to break tradition, try to deviate just a little.
Instead of cooking for twelve hours straight, can you cook for two and ask people to bring a dish over?
Instead of driving the five hours for the get together, can you push it to January when things have calmed down a bit?
What ways can you meet your needs better? How can you add more joy and less anxiety to your life over the next few weeks?
The holiday season is often a time filled with traditions, but it’s up to you to make sure they are ones you truly love doing.
What are the traditions you love and what are some new ones you hope to create?