I used to love everything about the holidays. Then I became a single mom and a business owner. After that, the holidays lost their magic for me. I was poor, stressed, overworked, and felt guilty for not being the ‘perfect’ mother for my children during the holiday season. The holiday expectations I placed on myself overwhelmed me.
Each November and December I became obsessed with making money in order to get presents under the tree.
I hated it, the season, the guilt, the pressure I put on myself. I was a mixed bag of depression and anxiety.
The exact opposite of what I believe the holiday season is all about.
So many of us get lost in the expectations we place on ourselves for the holiday season. Often times we do things because we are “supposed to” rather than for the joy of the experience. There are aspects of the holidays that I’ve always loved, like baking Christmas cookies with my daughter. But sometimes the joy and love for those activities are overridden by thoughts of, “Ugh, I HAVE to get all of these baked before company comes over.”
I am as guilty as anyone of forgetting to enjoy the present moment because I’m too focused on my never-ending to-do list. But during the holiday season, it seems I have to remind myself even more frequently to slow down and enjoy this moment.
50 Years From Now
It always helps me to regain perspective by thinking about what will be important 50 years from now. In 50 years will…
it have mattered that I handed Christmas cards to family because I didn’t have time to mail them at the beginning of December? (Answer: No)
be a concern that the teacher gifts were store-bought goodies rather than homemade? (Answer: It’s the thought of appreciation that counts.)
the kids care if the ham was baked perfectly and the dinner rolls were made from scratch? (Answer: No, they would probably think you were even more awesome if you just ordered pizza.)
My Bucket List
There were several things that helped me to get back to a healthy place (mentally) for the holidays. One, was that I started to keep a gratitude journal. Especially through the stressful holiday season.
Another one was creating a bucket list. The bucket list reminded me of the things that were important to me. The things that I wanted myself, and my kids, to remember about this time of year after 20 years have gone by.
FREE PRINTABLE: NOVEMBER BUCKET LIST
Below is a short video I created on a whim and you can also download a printable bucket list for November.