It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
I love that Christmas song. But I know I’m not alone when I confess that I don’t always feel wonderful during the holiday season. Don’t get me wrong: I’m one of those holiday-loving people and dive in head first. But like it or not, this glorious time of year brings with it feelings of anxiety and stress, fears of inadequacy. There’s a lot on the to-do list. Every year, I swear that next year I’ll be on top of it all. Gifts will be thoughtfully selected throughout the year for each loved one, ready to be wrapped and sent long before the expedited shipping fees kick in. Holiday cards adorned with happy family photos will be hand-addressed and arriving in mailboxes by early December. The Christmas tree hunt and subsequent decorating will be a pleasant activity, anticipated with excitement and nostalgia. Christmas music will prompt memories of holidays past and bring a smile to my face. I’m sure that there are people like this somewhere in the world, but I don’t know any…and I’m certainly not one of them!
This year, in a moment of madness, John and I ambitiously decided to host a cocktail party for our friends. Never mind that John is currently working eleven-hour days or that we’d be hosting my whole family (and three extra dogs) for a week over Christmas. We love a good party, and, well, ‘tis the season. The “Yes!” RSVPs piled up, and the guest list topped out at about 50 people. As my stress level rose, I stumbled across this quote, and it changed everything.
I shifted my perspective. I took a little of my own advice and paused to enjoy each project. Items on the to-do list aren’t a seasonal obligation; they are a pleasure. I don’t have to send out holiday cards- I choose to. Our sketchy Big Bertha experience turned into a funny story. Hosting a get-together for our friends would be our gift to them. It doesn’t matter what other people accomplish or if I couldn’t do everything all at once. When I needed a break, I took one. Because if the joys of the season aren’t joyful anymore, then what’s the point?
I did a lot of party prep ahead of time, and my list-making skills were in overdrive. I pinned make-ahead recipes and even got a little crafty with décor. I’d resolved to just do what I could and try to enjoy the process. And the party certainly wasn’t flawless, but was a blast (more on that soon!).
My holiday to-do list isn’t done. I’ve got cards to send and gifts to wrap and a full house to prepare for. But I did myself a favor this year: I gave the perfectionist in me the season off. I’m sure she’ll be back in January, when things have slowed down a little bit and the holiday buzz has faded. For now, I’m going to enjoy these last days of 2013 with people I love. Keep it simple, sweetheart- life doesn’t have to be perfect to be fabulous.
Besides, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Hadn’t you heard?