My son has a book called, Mooseltoe, which is about a dad (who is a moose) that is so excited about creating the perfect Christmas for his family, that once Christmas Eve rolls around, he realizes he forgot to buy a Christmas tree. After searching for one last minute and coming home treeless, he decides to wrap himself in lights and stand in the spot where the tree would have gone. He stands there all night until Santa comes.
This story speaks to what we do to ourselves this time of year. How we loose sight of the present moment to check off a manufactured list of “Christmas Must-Do’s.” Somehow we have bought into the idea that it just wouldn’t BE Christmas if we failed at meeting all of the unspoken expectations: send an adorable photo card, bake treats to share, buy the perfect gifts, take your children to every local Christmas event, move the #@$*-ing elf, buy matching jammies, decorate multiple trees with multiple themes, find the perfect outfit for pictures with Santa. I hear some parents say that this is just the job of parents at Christmas, to sacrifice sleep, time and money – and sometimes happiness – so our children will have magical Christmas memories. But it seems to me we are actually sacrificing something more crucial: the connection to our intentions.
I don’t doubt that we all want to make the holiday season memorable for our family, but I can’t help but wonder if we could use a little redirecting. What if we revisited our intentions? If I asked you to list the 3 most important things to you at the holidays would they line up with how you are spending your holidays? If we say we want to spend time with our children, we should try to really spend quality time with them. Going and doing and seeing it all can be fun…but it can also be distracting. We don’t have to create idyllic photo ops to post on facebook, we can make quite, happy memories while reading, cooking and connecting with our children at home.
There is no need to abandon traditions and festivities that make you holly and jolly, but it’s OK to cut out the things that do not. If you are looking for a permission slip, consider this it! I gave myself one and now I am giving it to you. Waking up on December 26 feeling like you have been drop-kicked is not a mark of accomplishment, it is sad. You deserve merriment too. You have the right to feel connected and present in you holiday season.
May your days be merry and bright…
Check out what I wrote about creative, out of the (gift) box stocking stuffers here.