The holidays can be busy and exhausting, but what if they don’t have to be that way? In Bounceback Parenting, A Field Guide for Creating Connection Not Perfection, I talk about ways to get out of a perfectionism rut, be more kind to ourselves and find more connection with our kids. The holidays are a time when this motto of ‘connection not perfection‘ really helps me be more present and able to enjoy my family more.
Each year my mind fills with fantastic ideas of what to make, bake, create and buy for the holidays. It’s easy to get swept up in all of the expectations and possibilities, but honestly, it’s WAY more than I can really take on. Even if I could get done all the fun things (let alone the things i get to thinking I “should” do), I wouldn’t have time left to just enjoy being around my family.
So- I’ve been taking a good look at my priorities and getting a bit more realistic. As I said, “connection not perfection.”
Do you want a more connected, less frantic holiday season?
Great! Bounceback Parents believe in having a growth mindset about parenting – meaning we know we can learn, grow and change if things aren’t working, and that includes our own holidays. Here’s what to think about as you move towards connection not perfection at the holidays:
1. Be gentle – We don’t have to change all at once or get everything right.
Holidays can hold a lot of memories, expectations and potential for emotions to run high. It takes a while to get clarity on what you really love and what you’d like to let go of. Think about the overall feelings and experiences you want to create and try one thing this year that helps you experience more of these good feelings. It’s OK to experiment and it’s OK to go slow.
2. If stress starts to overwhelm, get perspective.
Back way up and look at the look at your the big picture.
You’ve got kids excited about the holidays who want time with you and who love the holiday traditions and decorations that are special for your family. For my kids that means sparkling lights, hot cocoa and presents. They see magic in chipped Christmas ornaments, Charlie Brown Christmas trees and repetitive Christmas music. This doesn’t mean all these things have to be perfect!
Take care of the things that matter most to you (and/or ask for help with these things) and let the rest go as best you can. Kids want your attention most of all.
When you can get some perspective it helps you let go of trying to get every detail right. This is where the phrase connection not perfection first came into use for me.
3. Just because you’ve always done something, doesn’t mean you always have to do it.
Speaking of expectations…as you move towards more meaningful holidays, you may notice traditions that you do without questioning, even when they don’t really work any more. It’s worth asking yourself if it’s time to make a change.
4. Think ahead about what matters most to you before each event of the season.
This way you can let go of the rest more easily. Taking a moment to think ahead of time about what is most important to you can help give you clarity and confidence when making choices about what other events you say yes to, who you include in family events and what you are willing to be flexible about.
5. It’s not to late to start new traditions
To our kids, something done twice becomes tradition, it doesn’t have to be something done since your grandmother was a baby.
Here are some of my favorite resources for creating fun, meaningful and connected holidays:
- Keeping Christmas Cozy – if you celebrate Christmas, this is my gift to you for a cozier calmer holiday.
- Making Homemade Holidays Without Making Ourselves Crazy
- Creating Holiday Traditions Your Family REALLY Loves
- Choosing not to be busy.