Fall has always been my favorite season, the kids are back in school, pumpkin spice lattes abound and the weather here in Nashville is absolutely perfect.
What I’ve realized is October and November tend to be the calm before the storm otherwise known as the holiday season.
There’s too much to do, too many people needing us to be in two places at once, and we sometimes feel like we are letting everyone down.
My life is a balancing act between work, my five sons and all their fifty-gazillion coaches and teachers, and other responsibilities. Growing up I watched the women in my family seem to work themselves ragged to produce big holiday parties that they didn’t seem to ever enjoy.
I used to try to live up to all the excess myself. There’s something about the holidays that can make us feel like we have to be all things to all people.
I’m here to say (once again) holidays don’t have to be this way. You can actually enjoy the holiday season, and I’ll share with you my secrets for taming the beast of holiday craziness.
1. Prepare as much as you can now.
Late October and early November are the perfect times to order your Christmas cards, order Christmas gifts, submit your vacation time requests at work and work out as many details that seem far away as possible.
2. Give yourself permission to say no.
We all know you can’t be in two places at once, no one’s budget can afford to take part in every gift exchange, and sometimes more than one holiday party in a week leaves us all exhausted and grumpy (kids and their parents)!
When it’s time to say no, just use this script, “Thank you so much for (the request). I’m so proud of you for (what the person is doing). I have to say no because (your reason). Thank you so much for thinking of me.” You’ll want to add more to this, of course but it gives you a framework to be able to say no with love.
3. Focus on the spiritual, not the material
It seems trite to say, "Jesus is the reason for the season," but the reality is it's easy to lose site of why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. It’s easy to fall into the trap of making the holidays about consumerism. It’s especially easy when you have kids and they see constant advertising convincing them that they can’t live without a certain new toy. But even as adults, we can get caught up in the excess. I blame Pinterest for making us all believe every party must have dancing unicorns and chocolate fountains.
This year try to say no to a couple of parties and say yes to allowing time for peace, for reflection, and gratitude.
This article is reprinted from the Propel Women Magazine, The Propel Collective, Fall edition. It is free and you can download your copy by signing up to the newsletter here!