The holidays are upon us, friends! Whenever I get to this time of the year, I find myself with mixed emotions—both excitement and anxiety. As I reflect on fond memories from past holidays, I’m eager for the season to arrive. But at the same time, I often feel anxious about not being ready. The holidays tend to pile more on my plate, and it’s difficult to gear up for all the extra work and stress. I’m not sure if it’s the pressure I put on myself to provide my kids with the most magical holiday ever or the sense that yet again there is simply too much to do and not enough time to do it.
When I think back on childhood memories of holidays with my family, I instantly smile. I think of holiday dinners squished around my grandmother’s retro 70s kitchen table. My dad had time off from work, which meant that he had time to build Legos with us on the living room floor. Our home felt warm and cozy because my mom filled it with scents of warm apple crisp baking in the oven and the soft sounds of Christmas jazz music playing in the background. And I realize how none of my fondest memories include the presents I received or the rush of squeezing extra festivities into an already busy schedule.
Moms can experience a lot of pressure during the holiday season. As we run through our lists of all the things we need and hope to get done, we can end up lost in feelings of inadequacy. Crafting the perfect Thanksgiving meal and making sure we include the latest trending recipes, all while hoping we don’t forget the dinner rolls, can leave us breathless. Making sure our kids have their ugly Christmas sweaters for their school party and remembering the sprinkles for those Christmas cookies we promised to bake can stress us out.
Even with the best of intentions, when put under the microscope of perfection, we can find ourselves feeling burdened with all the tasks that need to be done and less and less inspired to keep up with all the holiday traditions.
When I ask my kids what they are looking forward to most about the upcoming holidays, their answers surprise me. “Spending time with family,” they say. “Having family dinner with all of our extended family around the table,” they reply without delay. Yes, they still want to make those holiday sugar cookies like we do year after year, but that’s because we do it together as a family. It’s all about family, not what’s wrapped up in a pretty package and tucked under the tree. Time spent as a family is an investment that will never lead to bankruptcy.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all the “must-haves” and “should-do’s,” take inventory of what your family needs most during this holiday season. Instead of creating checklists of what you need to do, rather look at the listed items as options your family can choose to participate in. Pick a select few that work for your family—the ones that will spark joy in your home this holiday season.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope.” Romans 15:13