The fall and winter holidays are a time to be with family, enjoy good food, and making memories celebrating new and old traditions. Unfortunately, the holidays can also result in a lot of stress, especially for those who are the heads of families. If you think about it, there is often one person per household responsible for coordinating the majority of the holiday magic and bearing a lot of holiday stress. The stress at times can be overwhelming and can rob individuals of their joy.
This past week we celebrated Thanksgiving, as many did all around the country. Did it stress me out to cook with all the other things we had going on? Not this year.
This year, I did not cook to make an impression on anyone at the dinner table, but I did it because my kids were looking forward to the holiday and all that goes with it. In addition to their sweet pleas for pumpkin pie and pumpkin muffins, they were eager to help me with the preparation. It brought me joy that my husband and kids requested foods that I have made in the past along with the memories we made as we prepared them together.
It took several years to realize that there are some things throughout the holidays that will bring my family and myself joy, and there will be others that will not. Since owning my own home, I have taken great pride and enjoyment in decorating it for Christmas. When my daughter was four, I decided to decorate after she and her toddler brother went to bed because it was easier and because I could make it perfect without little helping hands. I was woken up the next morning by a very disappointed little girl who had hoped to help me decorate. Since that year, I have decorated with my kids in tow. It is harder, ornaments are broken, I lose my sanity, but boy do we have some fun making memories. Decorating is now about the memories and no longer striving for perfection, and it brings us joy.
Two years ago I spent a few nights staying up late to address Christmas cards. I was tired and cranky, but our picture perfect cards were in the mail. Although I love getting Christmas cards in the mail from friends and family, it did not benefit or bring my kids joy to have me exhausted from sending out a beautiful card that would be recycled sometime in January. Sending Christmas cards is one holiday tradition that has been removed from our home.
When making the magic over the holidays, prioritize the things that bring you and your family joy. Forgo the idea of a picture perfect holiday and enjoy the holidays as you and your family wish to enjoy them and not how you want others to perceive you do.
Writer Bio: Summer Bolte
I spend most of my time and days with my three kids, husband and dog. My kids frequently play near me as I garden, cook, DIY and volunteer. My most unusual paying job has to be feeding fruit flies in a research lab, and my most fulfilling job was being an oncology nurse for seven years.