christmas

My Complicated Relationship with Christmas

Christmas and I? We go way back.

I remember being in 1st grade and swearing up and down to my parents that I heard Santa and his reindeer jingle past my room around 2am on Christmas morning.

I also remember waking them up only a couple of hours later at 4am only to be told that I needed to go back to bed until at least 6am.

Clearly, I had caught Christmas fever.

These days, my relationship with Christmas is a little more complicated.

As I got older, and then got married and had a kid, things changed quite a bit. And for some unknown, baffling reason I put an immense amount of pressure on myself during the holiday season. The house had to be spotless. I had to bake – and it had to be delicious. We had to listen to Christmas music while viewing beautiful displays of Christmas lights. We had to drink hot cocoa while we cheerily wrapped presents and decorated our tree. Each giftee had to LOVE their present and I had to buy all of them in one frantic day as I hunched over my computer and searched the internet for hours.
And every single one of these things had to be done joyously and with Christmas cheer.

Well, I say, screw that.

When I was young, Christmas was my absolute favorite holiday, but a few years ago, it started to become my least favorite. It was nothing but a giant ball of stress and pressure followed very closely by New Year’s Eve – another holiday I was stressing over – and then my birthday in early January. I started to dread the entire month of December and a little bit of January.

That’s when I happened upon Cheryl Richardson‘s marvelous post about the holiday season. She said:

“Relax and surrender to the magic of the season.  Let good enough be good enough.  Put your precious energy into enjoying time by yourself and with the people who matter most to your heart….Plans change. People disappoint. Traditions expire. Release your expectations of the holidays and be open to surprise.”

You can read the full post here.

This little message changed my life and opened my eyes to the mountain of expectations I had poured onto myself to make the season ‘magical.’ It’s taken a few years of keeping these words posted in my room every holiday season, but I’m finally starting to heed it’s message and slow down. I even realized that I didn’t have to do all the Christmas shopping by myself and in one day this year!

And you know what? So far, it really has been a magical season.

Wishing you a happy and expectation-free holiday season! 😉

Bella has NO expectations for the holiday season. NONE.

Bella has NO expectations for the holiday season. NONE. And see how relaxed she is?

The Gift of “No”

Dear Angelle,

Your dear husband is probably wondering what this ‘self-gift’ is all about so please be sure to read this letter out loud.

This year I am gifting myself the power of “HELP NO.” (Get it, ’cause it sounds like “HELL NO.”) But really it is a two part gift of “HELP” and “NO.” 

Let’s start with the gift of “NO.” Too many times you say ‘Yes,’ or more frequently say nothing at all and therefore OK, when you really mean “No.” And the two people who suffer the most because of this are you and Bill. You because you end up doing things you don’t want to because you previously agreed to it and then you’re angry and resentful or depressed. Bill because he is the one you most often say ‘Yes’ to when you really don’t want to because you think it’ll make him happy but you just end up angry and passive-aggressive with him.

So this year it’s time to start saying “No” (including to yourself). Which means you’ll have to start really taking the time to think about things before you respond instead of just saying “Yeah, OK, whatever.” I know! I know what you’re thinking! This requires time: time to put Ellie down, put your to-do list down and get in touch with yourself to know what it is you truly want. This bring me to the next part of the gift: “HELP.”

You need to start asking for help. Help with Ellie, help with the dishes, help with whatever it is you need help with so that you can get these 10 or 20 minutes EVERY DAY. These 20 minutes help you to stay sane and happy and in touch with your truth. And really, 20 minutes a day ain’t a lot to ask. 20 minutes a day for one year is less than 1.5% of the whole year! That’s a helluva deal for increased happiness. And it doesn’t always have to be Bill whom you’re asking for help. In fact, it shouldn’t be. You have wonderful family and friends who would LOVE to watch Ellie for 20 minutes or take her for a 20 minute walk. You are not superwoman and that is perfectly OK. In fact, it’s normal. So this is my gift to you – the power of “NO” and asking for “HELP.” Use it wisely.

All my love,

Angelle

P.S. Eating better and starting yoga again might help too. <3 

 

Happy Holidays Everyone! May your days be full of love, laughter, and joy! <3

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