Expectations for the Upcoming Holidays

December’s almost upon us.  Shopping, decorating and entertaining!  We knock ourselves out every holiday season trying to make it perfect, and then often feel empty and unfulfilled when it’s all over. What’s that all about?  Well before it all starts again this year, ask yourself, “What is it that I want from this time of year?”  Once you’ve got your own ideas, maybe find out what your family’s thoughts are too with these questions:

  • What do you remember most about last Christmas/last year’s holiday season?
  • What did you like best?
  • Was there something you didn’t like about it?  How would you change it?
  • If we could only do one or two things to celebrate the season, what would those be?

Be prepared for surprises!  Perhaps your kids and spouse have outgrown some of the long-standing traditions and activities.  Listen and keep an open mind – after all making changes may mean less stress for you in the end, and that’s one of the goals in this process!  Less stress.

Next, decide as a family on the top two things to do this year. Focus on those meaningful activities that bring the family together, no matter how small or silly. That’s where to put your energy this holiday season – where there’s meaning.  And remember to ask everyone to pitch in to help make these activities happen!

Here are some tips, provided by psychologist April Lane Benson, which may also help you to feel more fulfilled and able to have a good holiday rather than a goods holiday:

  • Shop for family activities rather than stuff
  • Enjoy the holiday lights
  • Attend free holiday concerts
  • Host a holiday pot-luck
  • Cut your own tree and make it an outing
  • Go to a family-friendly holiday movie
  • Volunteer or adopt a family in need for the holidays

What do you really want from this time of year?

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