The Ghosts of Christmas Past: Reclaiming the Magic of the Season

Halloween has come to a close and the Starbucks red cups are out. As the kick off for the 2017 holiday season begins, I am filled with intense feelings of excitement and dread.

As a former lover of Christmas, I don’t like approaching the holidays with dread. In fact, it confuses me. I expected my holiday spirit to only grow once I had little kids and my own family to celebrate with.

Yet, as it so often happens with parenting, the holidays were not what I initially expected when I was pregnant with both children. Changes in schedule and sleepless nights paired with the demands of entertaining left me in an exhausted Grinch like state. The first couple of years, I was left feeling guilty because my Christmas experience was far from the peaceful holiday I had envisioned.

This year, my children are four and six years old. I think this may be our Christmas sweet spot. They are young enough to believe yet old enough to sleep through the night! I don’t want to miss this special time trying to meet self-imposed demands and hosting the “perfect holiday.”

This year I am reclaiming the joy of Christmas by learning to let go of my self-imposed expectations and truly enjoying the season.

Here is how I intend to let go of the ghosts of Christmases past:

  • I am going to stay in my Christmas jammies! On Christmas morning, I vow to stay in my jammies and play with the kids and their new toys. I won’t rush to get in the shower and clean up. If guests arrive and I am in my PJs, they can grab a cup of coffee and get on the floor and play with us. They won’t care and neither will I.
  • The dirty coffee mugs can wait. I vow to sit even longer in those Christmas jammies and enjoy a cup of holiday blend (or a mimosa) with my family Christmas morning. My guests discarded coffee mugs can wait. They will be clean by dinner (maybe).
  • I am managing our commitments and saying “No” to being over scheduled. I spend way too much time rushing and screaming, “We are going to be late!” This Christmas break, I am resisting a calendar full of things to do. If we do have a commitment, we will go in our own time. If we are late or behind, it will be okay.
  • I am going to keep it simple. This year, I am going to stay grounded and focused on what matters most. My energy will be focused on relationships, celebration, and love. All those and expectations for a perfect Christmas that caused so much stress? That can stay behind with the ghosts of Christmases past.

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