If it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, why is it so stressful?
Well, it’s that time of year again. The time that just sneaks up on us every year. The time when people are running around trying to get a million things done before nightfall. The most stressful, craziest time of the year.
It’s amazing. We have such an idea of what Christmas should be that we totally gloss over what it actually is. It’s like going to Paris and trying to relive a romantic comedy, rather than take in the dirty streets and chance encounters and unexpected laughs.
There’s no shortage of shoulds this time of year. You should have planned earlier. You should have made that quiche everyone likes. You should have taken today off of work. You should have gotten gifts earlier.
It’s a time when you are criticized, judged, weighed for the world to see—or, at least your family. It’s the time to take stock of the year and see how you failed. Where you fell short.
It’s the time to have awkward conversations with relatives. To be inevitably yelled at by your mother, for something you probably did wrong. To overspend your paycheck and buy nice gifts for people.
We’re taught exactly how Christmas should be. And then it’s over before we know it.
Well, I’m feeling radical today. This year, I’m proposing something different. I’m proposing something quite preposterous, in fact.
I’m proposing that you enjoy Christmas. That you savor it. That you forget your obligations and let it happen just as it does.
Didn’t buy the right gift? Didn’t make that famous casserole? Screw it. It’s just another day. You’ll get them next week. Maybe it’s even an excuse to actually spend time with family in January.
Let’s give ourselves a break this Christmas. Let’s let ourselves off the hook.
Let’s just let ourselves be. There’s nothing we have to say or buy or do. Nothing we have to make or fake or rush for. All we have to do is be.
Just let ourselves enjoy the moment. Be spontaneous. Decide that, “Hey, I feel like playing a board game tonight. So I’m going to break tradition and start one.”
See, the greatest thing about tradition is that it starts somewhere. Once. So let spontaneity be your once. Let real, authentic feelings be your Christmas.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a little bored with the whole, “This is how Christmas should be.”
We get enough of that throughout the year. How about the, “This is how Christmas is”?
This is a real moment. A night where you aren’t expected to bring anything to the table but yourself (Okay, and maybe a bottle of wine—we aren’t savages here).
But, seriously, when you let go of all of your expectations and rules, you let yourself be in the moment. Really listen to relatives and loved ones. Heartily laugh at that corny story your uncle tells every year. Watch A Christmas Story as if it were the first time.
There’s plenty to be stressed about. There’s more to fail at. So let’s not let Christmas be part of it. For just this one night, let’s throw it all away. Expectations, rule, shoulds, stress—the whole bit.
We can totally go back to being crazy and hectic the next day. But, for just tomorrow, let’s give ourselves the gift of freedom. Give ourselves a break.
Because, when you stop and let yourself enjoy the moment, you remember what you’re rushing around for in the first place. You remember what Christmas really is.
On that note, enjoy your Christmas, kids. Have a great day. Like you, I’ll be giving myself a break.
Because I want to spend the time with my family. I want to be in the moment.
And there’s a competitive game of Monopoly calling my name.
Originally published at bostonwellnesscoach.com.
Photo: Eric Mueller/Flickr
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