Hmmm, do these two things ever go together? I think they can, but I don’t think it’s necessarily the best way to go into a holiday. We all do the best that we can through this holiday season but, when we set unrealistic expectations of either ourselves or others, it’s a setup for failure. We all joke about that family get-together that includes the crazy uncle, the forgetful aunt, or the parents that are disappointed in us. Unfortunately, this happens more often than less. Most of us are versions of that family. We may have disagreements and things can be awkward or irritating. The picture-perfect family gathered around a fireplace and singing Christmas carols is extremely rare and, when we try to force this into our lives in an effort to make our holiday idyllic, we’re likely to be disappointed. We don’t have to be, though! Don’t try to be something that you’re not. Do more of what makes you (and your family) happy and don’t worry about how it “should be”.
I don’t think we should try to meet expectations that aren’t realistic for ourselves. We should each do what’s best for our OWN families and friends. It’s what makes us happy, what brings us together, how we feel about each other that’s important. It’s not the dinner, the gifts, the presentation or decorations. It’s the joy that we are looking for. Bearing in mind that none of us are perfect, it’s reasonable to assume that nobody else that shows up is perfect either. Does that mean that your holiday gathering won’t be perfect? Nope. The perfection comes in the love, the heartfelt good wishes and acceptance that we have for each other. Of course we’re all stressed out, tired from the running and trying to get everything done and, for a lot of us, work pressures, health, or weather problems on top of it. We’re going to be a bit on edge, easily irritated and may not be in the best frame of mind in the exact moment we need to be. Let’s try to be patient with each other. There are things that matter (like caring, forgiveness, love) and things that don’t (irritation, intolerance, rudeness). We have a choice on how we want to let these things affect us, not just on the holiday itself, but every other day as well. Sometimes we need to overlook those things that aren’t perfect. If the food is overcooked, you don’t approve of somebody’s clothing or the life choices a family member makes, it’s okay. If everybody is there to share their day with each other, that’s what counts. The rest will all make good stories in the years to come. We should choose to look for the things that make us happy and not get upset about things that aren’t important. THAT’S what it means to enjoy the holiday. I hope yours is all that you wish for!