Holiday Expectations: Staying Sane During the Holidays

Can you feel it descending upon you?  I’m not talking about a lovely snowfall.  I’m talking about the heavy blanket of holiday expectations that comes around this time of year.

Much of the cause of holiday stress is having to fulfill the holiday expectations of others while hoping to get your own holiday expectations fulfilled.

Here is the good news: you don’t have to do anything.

That’s right. If you want float through the month doing absolutely nothing for the holidays, you have every right.
It’s your life, and you get to say how your holidays show up or not.

Holiday Expectations vs Your Sanity

I contend that your first obligation is to yourself and your own peace of mind and happiness. Especially around this time of year when there is so much emotion wrapped up in holiday expectations, traditions, and obligations.

Remember that when the Grim Reaper reaches his bony hand out to you, and you protest with “Not yet!  I never got to spend Christmas in Sedona like I always wanted to!”, I doubt if you’ll even get the courtesy of  a “Bummer…but it was your life. Uh, time to go.”

Understand that there is a type of hypnosis going on out there, and you better believe much of it is calculated and produced by people that probably get paid a lot more than you or me for the purpose of  getting your money.

The message is powerful and unrelenting in it’s attempt to create holiday expectations:

  • You should spend
  • You should feel this
  • You should do this
  • You should have this
  • Your holiday should look like a Norman Rockwell painting.

Just beware the nature of the Holiday Expectation Beast and if you don’t want to get mauled by it, then steer clear.

Here is where it will also show up: people in your life expecting you to play a role in their holiday productions. The pressure of their holiday expectations may not be so obvious.

The pressure of these holiday expectations can be subtle, so you have to stay aware to avoid getting sucked into putting on the Santa Suit against your will.

The trick here is to learn to say no. Learn to say no to what you don’t want to do. If you can’t come up with a definitive no, then at least negotiate. Make deals that allow you to get the holiday season that you want and avoid what you don’t want. Go ahead and let them call you a Grinch.

The reality is that you are not always going to get your way, especially if you have family, kids, spouses. If you want to spend Christmas day doing yoga and meditating, your husband might may not be in agreement if the kids are hounding him to play Barbies with them.

They key here is to know what you want and state your intentions. “Dear, I would like to spend at least a couple of days at home by myself to stay centered and balanced. How about I do kid duty a couple of days so you can golf?”

But sometimes you just need to put your foot down: “Dad, I”ll come over for Christmas but if you and Bob start arguing about politics, I will leave!” Just be prepared to walk your talk.

And don’t be afraid to go rogue: “Sorry, I’m already in debt up to my eyeballs, so I’m not buying anything for anyone. How about we just spend some quality time together after New Years?”

If you are one of those people that love everything about the holidays, I”m happy for you;  this post is not for you. Go drink some Egg Nog.

If however, you would rather chew on broken glass than hear “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” for the umpteenth time, then take control, make your own holiday or non holiday soundtrack mix, and plug in.

You’re only going to get one December in 2014! Figure out what you want, what you can stand, and what you won’t stand for, then make it a good one. Need help asserting yourself? Click here.


p.s. I really love hearing from you! Please leave a comment or share using all that cool technology we have now.

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