Wednesday, November 17, 2010

De-stressing for the Holidays: Priorities vs. "shoulds"

Hello readers,
Today is the first installment in a series on maximizing enjoyment during the upcoming holiday season. Common sense tells us if we pare down on holiday obligations, we'll likely enjoy the activities we do partake in much more. So why is it that few of us actual do this? There are a host of reasons no doubt with guilt topping the list. As parents in particular, do we really want to be teaching our children to continue certain "traditions" that are obligatory, stressful and eat up precious time that could be spent elsewhere? The types of activities I'm talking about are very subjective and relative to your circumstances.  For example, several years ago when my son was but a mere toddler, baking cookies for Christmas was one of those nasty "shoulds" that jeered at me from my Christmas TO DO list. It wasn't feasible nor enjoyable at that stage in my life.

I stopped baking Christmas cookies for several years...not that I didn't get some "flack" from some who did not approve of my decision.  As my son got older, a nice family tradition has emerged in our house. My husband and I bake cookies with our son. I have to tell you, it's so nice having the extra hands in the kitchen. Eventually Cole's attention span and enthusiasm wanes, and Frank and I are left in the kitchen to bake those last few dozen cookies.  Even though the baking doesn't quite match up to the "perfect" scenario I have in my head, I still look forward to this annual tradition.

One reason why I actually look forward to it is because we've eliminated other less enjoyable "traditions", thereby  freeing up time and energy. By way of example, though decidedly beautiful and festive, our Department 56 Christmas village hasn't seen the light of a day in many, many years. It's not that I don't love it. It's just that the amount of energy and time it takes to set up isn't worth it to me at this stage in the game.

I challenge each one of you to identify one tradition you want to make time for this year as well as identify one that you'd like to ditch.  And please, please, please, do tell so you can inspire the rest of us!

Have a fine day editing your Christmas to do list,