Letting Go During the Holidays

December 17th, 2008 by Patti P

Sometimes my unbound enthusiasm can make me go a little bit overboard during the holidays. My mind, buzzing with creative ideas, keeps coming up with just one more thing to cook, to make and to experience, until I am simply exhausted, thus losing the fun of the holidays by trying to do too much. I have bestowed on myself the huge responsibility of making the holidays magical for my family. This responsibility used to be a joy back when our family was smaller and the children were younger. But our increasingly complex lives now make this joy feel more like a chore.

The paradox is that the very things I like the most about Christmas-the magic, the surprises, the joy-were being destroyed by my best efforts to make sure they happened! It has taken years, but I have finally learned that the less I do and the more I can just be present in the moment, the more likely it is for my mythical, magical Christmas feeling to appear.

So if you find the holidays somewhat lacking or even forced (as if you have been trying too hard for too long), try simplifying what they mean to you. Identify the essence of the holiday and make sure to choose activities that celebrate the true meaning of the day (or days). Once I simplified my expectations, my true desires seemed much more manageable and made much more sense to me because they were now undeniably heartfelt.

And you know the funniest thing is, once we started really focusing on what Christmas truly meant to us, our material wants diminished and all the magic I was seeking flourished in our hearts quite by accident.

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2 Responses to “Letting Go During the Holidays”

  1. Ali at Chinaberry Says:

    Hi Anna - I couldn’t agree more with your comment & with Patti’s post. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle & bustle of the holidays. My girls and I celebrate both Christmas & Hanukkah so there are even more chances to go completely overboard.

    There are so many wonderful holiday festivals around, but this year I’m trying to pick out fewer events to attend–the ones that seem to fit our family best. We did this last weekend and what a great time we had together; we weren’t rushing from here to there–we were just having fun enjoying each other’s company & the holiday festivities around us.

    One positive that is coming out of this difficult economic time is that people really seem to be reevaluating their priorities with regards to money & time. Many of us are getting back to basics and realizing that material things aren’t necessarily going to bring us more happiness, but really connecting with those we love most certainly will.

  2. Anna Says:

    To be honest, my holidays got a lot better the less I did. The more I focus on hanging out with friends and family, and the less I worried about decorations or shopping, the better it got. It’s really just about people, not things.

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