Do these questions sound familiar to you?
… "I dread the holidays— is that normal?
… “What causes holiday dread? — and what can I do about it?"
These are the sorts of questions people whisper in my ear when I address small groups and audiences. My short response is, “Yes, it’s normal.”Because ever since you were too young to remember, you've been encultured and programmed with an emotionally complex set of ideas about family, love, warmth, religion, and caring wrapped up around the holidays, just like a present.
Now I'm Jewish; I don't even celebrate that holiday! Yet it's in me just like it's in you because I went to school here in the US— I sang Christmas songs, I participated in Christmas plays, and I associated winter vacation with the holidays, getting gifts, and all the fuss and tumult of the holidays which excite me such as chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
We all get ready to celebrate!
But with the holiday season comes expectations we place on ourselves that can lead to dread. Even though we know that holidays are about love, connection, and touching memories with people we treasure. I don't know about you, but I often have holiday dread.
In this post, I've come up with a simple tip that might help you enjoy your holiday more and make your life more comfortable.
I've noticed there are two types of people and how they respond to the holidays. It's a little bit of a stereotype, but they are true enough. In this post, I shall speak to one of them.
There are those who are sort of like extroverts, and they embrace it— they can't wait to decorate and entertain others. Already, their gift lists are handy, and they're in the kitchen baking, creating those wonderful aromas.
Maybe you can relate? Many people like this want to accurately recreate their best memories of holidays past, or create a new, ideal fantasy for their new family and themselves:
A lot of this can be inspired by social media imagery without realizing that something didn’t just come home from work and whip it up— there’s often a professional crew staging a lot of that. Now, you can get caught in the trap of trying to live up to that, "Oh, I have to… I must!"
Furthermore, you might have in the past made what you considered the perfect meal, the perfectly decorated house, and having everyone over— now you might be stuck in your mind trying to live up to that, again and again, each year.
However trite this sounds— remember that beautiful settings, and even great food, are not what really touches us about the gatherings— it's the connection between and among people.
The push of the internal striving for the best cookie recipe, nicest decoration for the mantle or the outside of the house can lead to wanting to be perfect— that’s all well and good. However, just like this video isn't really perfect, nothing in life is really perfect.
Being good enough is a better way to start— coming to a place where you really incorporate that into your belief system is a much easier way to have happiness and a good life.
I hope you enjoyed this post,