OK, raise your hand if you’ve ever spent Christmas Eve madly sewing or crafting, just wishing you could relax and eat the cookies left out for Santa instead. (Maybe this is just me, but I’m guessing a few of you creative moms have done the same…) Well, I’m not doing that this year.
“Connection not perfection” for a Homemade Holiday without the stress
First- When making anything this year: imagine the finished product, then step backwards through making it. Will you really have time? If so, is making this the way you want to spend that time?
I started sewing an Advent Calendar this year, but wound up stopping and putting it up until next year when I realized it was going to cause more stress than fun. You can make these choices too!
Make a list. Now edit it. Twice. Take a good look at what time you have left. If you have not started making things yet, you likely do not have time to make something for everyone on your list. Prioritize who you want to make things for and don’t feel bad about the rest. Wouldn’t you rather give something made with love than with resentment and stress?
Consider buying handmade- It is ok not to do everything yourself.
Don’t be afraid to repeat– You can give a simple homemade gift to many people, many years in a row. I have a friend who gives little gifts of tea and hot cocoa every year. I look forward to this thoughtful gift even though it isn’t a surprise. I enjoy the connection she shares with me by giving it.
Decide on your “signature dish” to bring to parties and family gatherings. This eliminates the need to think about what to cook every time you’re asked to bring something.
Let go. Only volunteer for what you can make without a lot of stress. If cooking up a storm brings you joy, great! But if you are in a life stage where cooking is difficult, don’t worry about it. Holiday dinners are easier if you can let go and just enjoy being with people rather than trying to make the perfect meal happen.
Take Control- Conversely, the way to eliminate stresses for some families is to take control of holiday dinners. If you have food allergies in your household, it may be much less stress to stay home rather than eat at a friend or relative’s house.
Think about what will work for your family this year- for instance, we have a one year old toddling around. Yes, my Christmas tree might look a little odd if it’s not decorated on the bottom, but I will feel much calmer.
Take a look with your children’s eyes- They see magic where you see mess. They don’t know that tablerunner doesn’t match that tree skirt! They see a wonderland appearing in their home!
Here’s what it comes down to:
You have a choice.
Just because you’ve always done something, or you think somebody expects you to do something, does not mean you have to do it. You’ve got to look at what you want for your family and make choices that will support that. You may get some grief about it, but in the end if you want to have connection with your kids and spouse, you have to make that top priority. Take a hard look at which obligations you are taking on only because of other people’s expectations and ask yourself if it’s worth it.
Have fun, get inspired, but remember we’re going for connection, not perfection, with our homemade holidays this year!
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