Everything You Need to Know about Holiday Expectations

Do you have holiday traditions? I love traditions. I think they give stability even if they can be kind of corny.

One of our traditions is to watch the movie Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase every year.  Corny but funny.

In the movie the dad, Clark Griswold, has huge expectations for the holidays. From the lights on the house to the family staying over at their house and getting along to getting a real Christmas tree to buying a swimming pool with his work bonus as a surprise to his family. Of course, nothing goes as planned.

One night Clark and his wife, Ellen, have a conversation:
Ellen:  You set standards that no family activity can live up to.
Clark:  When have I ever done that?
Ellen: Parties, weddings, anniversaries, funerals, holidays…
Clark: Goodnight, Ellen.
Ellen: Vacations, graduations…

I think we all do this to some degree. We want the holidays to be so amazing that we set expectations that no one can live up to. Including our self.

Is it time to get realistic?  Of course we want our times with family to go well, we want to fit in all we want to celebrate in December, and we want everyone to love our gifts, but is it realistic?

Hopeful? Yes. Not realistic.  How about we make a pact?  Let’s enter into everything we take part of around Christmas with a joyful ‘live and live’ attitude.  Let’s not take everything so personal.  Let’s give people a break as everyone has ‘stuff’ going on in their lives.

Please give yourself a break, too.  Do you have to do all you think you need to do this month?  What is super important to you?  Put those in the calendar first and then see if you realistically have time for the other activities.  If you aren’t running yourself so ragged you’ll be a nicer person to be around!

I want to wish you a wonderful, happy, peaceful Merry Christmas!

Let me know below how being realistic in December helps your celebrations.


3 Responses to Everything You Need to Know about Holiday Expectations

  1. This is so wonderfully true. I am reminded of one of my own family’s cherished Christmas traditions when I read this. It came about because, when my children were little, I was terribly overwhelmed and stressed out about “getting it all done” during the holidays due to work and other commitments. I finally decided to just stop doing those things which I hated. One of them was baking Christmas cookies (I’m really not a big fan of cooking in general, and baking even less!) My husband was disappointed, so I suggested, half-kidding, that HE take over the cookie-baking chores. Surprisingly, he agreed (now this is a guy who had never before really done much in the kitchen!) However, he tackled the task with his usual enthusiasm, and decided he would make a fun day out of it by including our kids, who were perhaps 2 and 6 years old at the time. Now, I would NEVER have even considered that, but he has waaaay more patience than I! It became a family tradition for the children to bake Christmas cookies with Dad. I have the most wonderful pictures of the kids standing on stools to reach the counter in aprons that reached to their little toes, covered in flour and red and green sprinkles (the kitchen floor crunched when we walked on it for days afterward.) My two daughters really look forward to it every year, even though they both now are away from home for much of the year in school. They cherish their time with their Dad, and exchange cookie recipes with him all year long in anticipation, generating some heated discussion about what should be included each year, and what should be left out. If I hadn’t let go of that enormously burdensome expectation that I had to “do it all”, even stuff I hated doing, at Christmas, it would have never come about. How cool is that?!!

  2. Love, love, love, Lisa!

  3. Becca Clark says:

    Perfect! Is it OK if I refer to this with the link in my e-newsletter coming out today? It’s a message we all need to hear/read.

    Thanks so much for your wisdom!!!

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