The Perfect Christmas: Managing Expectations
The Romance of the Season
Do you romanticize the holiday season? Are you dreaming of the perfect Christmas? Do visions of the expertly decorated home; a gorgeous holiday meal; and warm, kindhearted friends and family members dance in your head?
I know I already have this huge vision for our First Christmas at Cairn Creek! Every year, with the flip of the switch on the twinkle lights, I get sucked into the belief. I hope and wish that this year things will be different, that I can change things. If I can just create the perfect Christmas, strained relationships will magically transform, people will be nicer, and everyone will have what they need and be grateful.
I am truly blessed to have fantastic memories of childhood Christmases. And, adult Christmases have been filled with travel, adventure, and the best of family and friends. Most importantly to me, I don’t remember a Christmas where I’ve not experienced the wonder of the Spirit.
But, every year, I feel some disappointment. Between work, friends, home, and family I get worn down. I feel irritated by the busyness. I feel annoyed by the “grinch” who won’t get on board and allow themselves to be happy. And I feel deep sadness for all the people for whom the holidays are full of pain and loneliness. I can create the picture-perfect setting and that one family member (who shall remain nameless) will still act like an ass and punch a big hole in my perfectly created bubble.
- Remember we can’t change/control other people. Any expectations we have should be for ourselves! We have to allow people and things to be who and what they are.
- Let go of external perfection. Your Christmas tree isn’t lopsided; it’s quirky! So what if you burn a batch of sugar cookies; the dogs will love their Christmas treats! And when our budgets don’t allow for extravagant gifts it’s an opportunity to get creative; use your strengths to make something meaningful.
- Find meaning in the holidays beyond the decorations, gifts, and events/obligations. Stop and take a look around you! Find something spiritual and wonderful about yourself, your life, and the people in your world. Take a quiet moment or two to think about who and what you’re grateful for, what you value, and what you want to accomplish with this one great life of yours.
My Christmas wish for you is that you’ll keep it all in perspective, have at least one magical moment, and not strangle your brother-in-law (Just jokes Brad! You know I love you!).