We all aim to make have the “perfect” holiday. It should look perfect; people should act perfectly; everything should go perfectly. We are bombarded with information to help us create perfection.
Maybe, though, it is perfect if it is just “good enough.”
Perfect is tough to achieve, and we create so much stress in trying to accomplish perfection that we, the organizers, often forget to enjoy it!
Rather than working so hard to create the ideal, maybe perfection is found in the reality of our everyday.
Firstly, set realistic expectations. This may mean doing something more simply, and focusing on the quality time family gets to spend together.
Keep a sense of humor! Let things slide. This is a perfect time to really follow the mantra: don’t sweat the small stuff. No one will notice is the green beans are not a part of the dinner table.
Throw away the idea of having “set-rules.” Create new and fun things to do each holiday season that allow friends and family to be together, having fun and enjoying one another.
Be mindful of each moment. Find the joy in it. Ultimately, that’s what the holiday is all about.
That all being said, there are definitely certain “tips” to keep in mind that will help to increase the likelihood of a wonderful day.
AVOIDING FAMILY CONFLICTS:
Be realistic about your familial expectations. Don’t expect all the negative things that go on within the immediate and extended family to go away just because it’s the holidays. Be aware that Uncle Joe and Aunt Sue won’t suddenly get along, and seat them away from each other to prevent additional problems.
Don’t air grievances: The focus on holidays is togetherness, love and enjoyment of one another. Sometimes, too much of a good thing can go a little wrong. It’s important to monitor how much people drink and how much time is too much to avoid the possibility that the airing of grievances will occur. Encourage some outdoor time to avoid feeling cooped up, which can add to the stress and increase fights.
Pay attention to the kids:
There is a lot of stimulation at this time of year: lots of toys, lots of activity, lots of people. Be sure to keep extraneous noise in the house to a minimum. Try to keep the kids schedules as close to normal as possible. Stash away some of the presents after they are opened, and bring them out slowly. The kids will appreciate them more, and it will reduce the likelihood of some meltdowns from being too overtimulated.
Give yourself time off: Find a way to create a little down time for yourself during the busy-ness of the day. Giving yourself a breather will allow you to be more present for everyone and everything else.
Monitor food and alcohol intake: It’s so easy to over-indulge at this time of year. Be mindful of how much you are drinking and eating. Too much can create more stress in the end, and make you feel physically sick (which only adds to the mental exhaustion).
Plan ahead: Commercials are all focused on getting you to buy the biggest and best thing out there. Due to economic difficulties, or availability, this may not be possible. Plan ahead as best as possible: set aside the money if that gift is really important, order early if that is needed.
Talk with your children about THEIR expectations: It may be important to talk with your children about what they may or may not receive this holiday season. It may be important to review the purpose of the holiday and talk candidly about what they want, and how to handle disappointment if they cannot receive it. It’s a great teaching moment.
Be prepared for tantrums. Know how you will handle that mini-meltdown if the “ideal” gift is not received. Will you remove your child from the situation until he calms down? Will you stop presents from being opened until she regroups? Have a plan before the holiday begins so that you are not embarrassed and overwhelmed in front of family.
Hope you have a wonderful holiday season!