I remember Andie’s first Christmas, oh the beautiful red dresses I bought her with matching faux fur coats. In my mind, I could picture exactly how perfect the holiday was going to be with our new bundle of joy. She’d be cute and smiley, making everyone melt with her little smile that she was still trying to figure out. We’d all gather around our beautifully lit dining table ready to eat an amazing meal while she took a little nap next to me.
Have you ever set such expectations for your own holiday? Expectations that put so much pressure on you, so much pressure that you are stressed all day, every day. Not Ideal!
Here’s what really happened that first Christmas with Andie Girl…
Andie started daycare in early December, and got her first cold right before Christmas Eve. This meant I got sick right on Christmas. We had a wonderful dinner, but Andie stayed in her pajamas all day since I couldn’t imagine putting her in an itchy dress (no matter how gorgeous!). I scrapped by on medicine. Remember moms don’t get a sick day, especially when it’s a birthday or holiday!
I’ve learned my lesson! Don’t set expectations, don’t put that pressure on yourself. It will only leave you feeling stressed, anxious, and trying to control every aspect of the holiday instead of enjoying it.
Gifts can be a tricky piece of the holidays too! Again, we set expectations on giving our kids or family members the perfect gift! I do this a lot, which is why I started shopping before Halloween for Christmas. I figured the more time I have to plan, the more likely I will find the perfect gift. Then I get so crazy trying to find THE GIFT, that I just want the entire experience over with! Have you ever been there?
It gets especially hard once your children keep asking for gifts. You want to give your children the world, but at what price? How about when all their friends get that one special toy, and your child doesn’t. How bad will you feel? Don’t feel bad or guilty over gift giving! Think of the memory you are giving your children or family instead of the gift you are giving them. It’s simple, but our society wants us to always spend and spend, give and give. Gifting doesn’t have to be a “toy” as my daughter says. You can gift your time, a memory, or an experience. How much will your child remember that toy in a year or 10 years?
As I think back to my daughter’s first Christmas, her dresses, the toys, and the memories, I get very emotional. It might be the hormones of being pregnant, but the holidays tend to spur old memories and emotions. They are a very sentimental time! Do you have certain ornaments and decorations that bring up old times with your grandparents? Maybe a holiday cookie recipe you used to do with your mother and sisters every year. Everyone makes fun of how many dotson decorations I have for Christmas because of our dog, Duke. This will be our first holiday without our little Duke, so you can imagine the tears I will have decorating the tree with our 50 plus dotson ornaments.
Is this your first holiday without a loved one? You might feel the need to make it perfect for your family. Or you want to burrow in your home all by yourself yet feel guilty you don’t want to do anything. It comes back to expectations over how we SHOULD feel and what we SHOULD be doing for the holidays. Remember, the holidays are what you make them. Don’t feel bad or guilty if you can’t do everything that is expected of you, but don’t hide either. Find a way to be around the people you love in a way that makes you feel comfortable, not anxious, stressed, or depressed.
I invite you to remove all the expectations we put on ourselves, that others put on us, that society puts on us, and to just be present for the holidays. The expectations are what gives us stress and the pressure to make it picture perfect…especially on social media.
Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Season! Can’t wait to see you in the New Year!
Jessica and Everyone on our #pinkfix team
If you haven’t yet, download our Holiday Budget Cheat Sheet as a special gift from us.