Holidays are a magical time of year AND an incredibly stressful time of year. Many of us look forward to our family traditions, holiday parties, decorating, and gift giving. But, in order to do all these things, we feel like we have to squeeze them into our normally hectic, busy schedules AND get it all done with ease and grace. Except, ease and grace are often forgotten in the hustle, leaving us to wonder “Where is all the magic I’m supposed to be feeling?”
This is especially true if you are a people-pleaser and over-giver. You know what I’m talking about. You try so hard to get everything perfect so other people feel at ease and have a good time and you’re left with a few moments of fun and a big mess to clean up.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can have more ease and grace in your holidays so they feel magical today and in the years to come. It just takes a little planning.
Acknowledge your tendency for high expectations. If you are a people-pleaser or over-giver, you aim high. You want the decorations perfect, the gifts to be plentiful, and a dinner everyone will rave over. You judge whether you succeeded based on comments from friends and family, as well as whether everyone gets along.
Even if you are low on the people-pleasing scale, you can still fall into the trap of expecting events to go well and people to get along, just because it is the holidays.
Reset your expectations. Once you acknowledge you have high expectations, reset them to something more reasonable. For example, if your dad and brother have a tendency to get on each other’s nerves, instead of expecting them to get along and being surprised when they don’t, expect them to clash and prepare yourself for how you’re going to respond.
Focus on the outcome of having a good time and not on whether the decorations are perfect or whether dinner was served on time.
Be mindful of what you can control and what you can’t control. This is a biggy! If you expect others to behave in a certain way to make everything magical, you’re in for a big disappointment because you can’t control other people. The best you can do is to ask for them to be better. Whether they honor your request is up to them. It’s best to keep your expectations focused on your own behavior and make sure you be the best person you can be, even in stressful situations.
Set your intention. If you want ease and grace, they can’t be the last thing on your list, they have to be the first. So set an intention for how you want your day to go each day. Answer these short questions:
Be liberal with positive comments and gratitude. Giving someone a compliment or expressing gratitude can put people at ease, so let them know how much fun you’re having, what you enjoying, and what you’re grateful for. Keep your focus on the positive and let others know. This will bring ease and grace to others as well.
I hope your holiday season is filled with good times and good friends. Remember to keep your friends and family close to your heart and spread kindness wherever you go. You never know the ripple effect just a little kindness can have on the world.