Just because a bell-ringer is stationed outside of your grocery store, doesn’t mean you have to drop some coins in their bucket. Just because you’ve always made the 50 dozen cookies for your child’s school fundraiser, or that thing at church, doesn’t mean you have to this year.
Just because EVERY charity EVERYWHERE is asking you to donate a dollar – or my favorite – “do you wanna just round up to the nearest dollar and give the change to XYZ foundation?”
“No, I actually don’t,” thank you though.
Before you call me Scrooge and start judging me for being “cold” and having no holiday spirit – hear me out.
I actually have a TON of holiday spirit! Way more now than I ever have. You know why?
I’m not stressed anymore.
Because two years ago I made a life-changing commitment to myself. I stopped saying “yes, sure, no problem, I’ll do that” to anything motivated by guilt, shame or fear. Previously, I agreed to thousands of things out of fear of what others would think if I said “no.”
I ALWAYS gave to bell-ringers during the holidays, but after deeply reflecting on my motivation for this, one out of five times was motivated by authentic willingness and a giving spirit. The other times were rooted in guilt “well I have the extra change in my wallet and there are so many less fortunate than me….and what will this nice bell-ringer think of me if I don’t?”
I stopped saying yes to attending numerous family get togethers – the Christmas season was turning into a three week event bleeding into January. Again – call me heartless and cruel – but do our children really benefit from being dragged to one house after the next to open presents that we are most likely going to sell or give away before the next Christmas? Well, they might actually love it – I did as a kid. But, as parents, it’s our job to say “no” and figure out what’s best for each of our own family units.
We have to love and value our own sanity enough to say no sometimes. Yes, people will be annoyed with you – but I would ask you to seriously question if these people are worth being in your inner circle – anyone who pressures you or tries to convince you to go against what you believe is best – does NOT have your best interest in mind. You’re an adult – stand up to them – yes even if they’re your elders!
If pleasing others is the reason for your stress level increasing this holiday season – it’s not worth it.
Give to charity; buy and wrap lots and lots of presents; decorate the hell out of your house Griswold-style and go to as many family get togethers and church and school renditions of the story of baby Jesus as you can – BUT – ONLY IF YOU WANT TO! Not because you are “supposed to” or “should” or might be shunned if you don’t.
See the difference?
You’ll know if you are over-committing because you’ll get body tension, your stomach may be in knots, you’ll be drained of energy, irritability increases – if you find yourself yelling “Get me the damn wrapping paper” or “Where the bleep is my favorite Christmas sweater?!” or if you feel resentment or have to sacrifice hours upon hours of sleep to get it all done – you’ve lost the Holiday Spirit and you’ve for sure lost your mind. The Holiday season is NOT about stress.
So, yes, I love the holidays! I bake cookies with my daughters, we have a Christmas village collection that was my grandmother’s, which brings me joy in remembering seeing the same village at her house when I was little. My daughters now love setting out the little trees, the little figurines and placing each part of the village in a special spot. We buy new memory ornaments every year and read Christmas stories together. Peppermint mocha is a must during this season, for me. And, nothing lights me up more than seeing a neighborhood full of wreaths on the front doors and an inflatable Santa wavering in the wind.
If reading this caused you to wonder about your ability to set boundaries; if you felt really uncomfortable when I said “stand up to your elders” or “yes, people will be annoyed with you” I understand. I’ve been there. It takes guts to confront these parts of ourselves and make changes. For more support or to work on boundaries, managing stress and learning to put your own needs ahead of others click here to book a complimentary phone call.
You’ve got nothing to lose! Just Strength, Healing and Empowerment to gain!