Christmas tunes are blazing, festive lights twinkle throughout the town, and shops are filled with tinsel and fragrant Christmas scents. It’s the most wonderful time of year, right? Let’s be honest, especially for mamas, the Christmas season can be stressful. As a recovering people pleaser, I’ve always gone with the flow and done all the things I “should” do. Can you resonate? Do you find yourself scrolling the internet or walking up and down the aisles, seeking gifts for people you’ve not spoken to in years? While the kids are counting down the days to Christmas, are you counting down the days until calm resumes?
Don’t “should” on yourself.
Traditions can be beautiful, and we know holidays and traditions come hand in hand. Another word that comes along with traditions though is “should.” ‘I should send cards, I should invite the grumpy uncle, I should buy everyone gifts despite my bank balance, I should let my kids eat all the sweet treats, I should let all the family hold my baby.’ Christmas can feel like a minefield, finding you putting more energy into pleasing others rather than considering what you actually want and need. So, question the ‘shoulds’ and the traditions. Traditions need only be kept if they are serving you. Consider whether you must do all the things you feel you should and sidestep some of them in order to help you walk into 2023 with your cup a little fuller.
Set those expectations and boundaries.
Instead of spending the next few weeks burning yourself out to meet everyone else’s festive expectations, maybe it’s time to consider what you need from this time? Literally sit down and think about what your Christmas stress points are. Is it thinking about hosting, or cooking or buying gifts? Could you set boundaries in place that allow you to stay home on Christmas day instead of sweating over being three places at once? Or perhaps opting for Secret Santa instead of buying for everyone? Where we place our expectations and boundaries for the next couple of weeks ahead will be the difference between lying under the tree in an exhausted heap and being able to embrace and inhale the joy.
Notice the small, yet magical moments
In the frenzy of Christmas, I like to remind myself that ’the magic is often in the moment’ as it prompts me to find something in the present that brings me joy. It might be the smiling face of one of my kids or the warmth of a fire reminding me of my privilege. Gratitude is an invitation to notice the good things that sit alongside the mess, the stress and the hard. It widens our vision and enables us to feel the joy that is there for the taking.
Don’t give it all away
Keep some leftovers of this special time for yourself. And I’m not talking about a plate of gingerbread cookies (my personal favorite), but instead the energy and enjoyment of the festive time. If you’re the organizer, ensure you block off time for yourself too! Remember that just as a car needs fuel to drive, you need nourishing to be able to keep giving. Consider what refuels you. Is it an online yoga class? A chapter of your favorite book? Maybe getting that holiday mani and pedi? A walk with a great podcast on?
Prioritize those things and make them happen.
Pause before accepting
Before you reply ‘yes’ to an invite, consider your week and how you might be feeling energy-wise. If you need to say ‘yes’, try adding a ‘but’. ‘Yes, please do come over. But we are having some family time from 6pm.’ Saying yes with limits decreases the chances of you feeling exhausted or resentful. Being clear is kind to both others and you.
So, mamas-what are you going to incorporate this holiday season? Where will you set boundaries? What will you do for yourself? Northwest Ohio Moms wants to know!
Wishing you all a beautiful and peaceful holiday season.
Author: Victoria Albright
From city to suburb, Victoria recently moved to Perrysburg after living in the DC area for 10 years. Although her roots started in the 419, she and her high school sweetheart turned hubby enjoy exploring all the hidden gems of Northwest Ohio as parents. Victoria is a proud mama to 2 boys and a girl. After spending the first 8 years of her career as an early education teacher, she is now a Preschool Director and also runs a health and wellness business from home where she coaches, leads and inspires her team members. She is passionate about all things motherhood, education, and gut health. In her free time, Victoria enjoys running, finding healthy baking alternatives, having spontaneous dance parties with her kids, traveling, listening to personal growth podcasts, and empowering others to feel and be the best version of themselves. She is so grateful to be a part of the NW Ohio moms community and looks forward to connecting with you all! Follow her on instagram @victoriaalbright26