“Expectation is the root of all heartache” William Shakespeare
Disappointment stems from reality not meeting our expectations. And there is no better time to remind ourselves of this than amidst this holiday season. This is the season of high (read “unmet”) expectations. The expectations of a picture perfect holiday. The belief that we’ll all get along and not argue, bicker, or drive each other crazy. The expectations of a perfect meal, a nicely decorated house, and good cheer during ALL OF THE HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES. When we stretch ourselves too thin, spend outside of our means, and lose focus on what really matters, we get tired and stressed and, dare I say it, grinchy.
So let’s not “should” all over ourselves this year. It’s time to set aside what we think other’s want or think we “should” do and really figure out what makes sense for ourselves, our partner, and our family.
How to Manage Holiday Expectations:
Get clear on what you need
Figuring out what you need to keep sane this year is KEY. Schedule in downtime. Do things that are rejuvenating. Pick holiday traditions that are fulfilling for you. And plan things that don’t require fighting with your spouse and/or kids. Which means if there is something that you love but your family hates, go alone or find someone else who can share in your delight.
Just remember that you do NOT need to do ALL OF THE THINGS. Be selective on what you incorporate this year.
Choose easy. Maybe that means simplifying the meals, making fewer kinds of cookies, and/or getting a fake tree. And perhaps Christmas Eve dinner is pizza or Chinese food. And maybe Christmas morning is cinnamon rolls from a can. Or maybe not.
But be intentional this year. Decrease what stresses you out and increase what brings you joy.
Clearly state what you expect from others and ASK if this is doable
Are you hosting a party or Christmas Eve/Day? What do you need from your partner? Your kids? Let them know. Be really clear on what it is that you need. Toys picked up by 4pm? Turkey brined the night before and put in the oven at 12pm?
And get feedback to make sure that your expectations are realistic. If they aren’t, have a conversation about what is doable. Get on the same page with the expectations. Clear communication helps you sleigh Christmas.
You are enough
This is especially pertinent to you moms out there. No matter what happens this holiday, you are enough. You are good enough. You are kind enough. And you are a good enough partner, parent, family member, and friend.
No one’s life is picture perfect. Just make sure that you are focusing on what truly matters to you, your partner, and your family this holiday season.