Make a list of what brings you joy–the annual holiday cookie exchange with friends, the neighborhood lighted home tour and holiday music. Then, make a list of what brings you stress–crowded mall shopping, not enough time at home during the holidays and unreasonable expectations (yours and others) that are destined to disappoint.
Use your wisdom to figure out how to increase the joy and decrease the stress. It might mean letting go of traditions that no longer serve you, delegating some of the holiday chores or creating a family calendar so the important events take priority.
In my family, we put up the tree early and don’t take it down until late January–simply because it brings us joy. I have a collection of smiling snowmen–42 at last count–that adorns the fireplace mantle and shelves in our living room. They’ll hang around through March. We also celebrate the holidays in New York with my family over New Year’s so we’ll be home for Christmas. Since our teenage twins knew the truth about Santa, we set a rule that each received three gifts–like the the three wise men brought. This keeps their “Santa list” reasonable and we always add a few extra treats as surprises.
How do you or will you simplify this season?