musings, mutterings, and creative muddle. . .

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My Wish for you: An OKAY kind of Holiday

As we're all completely immersed in the Holiday Season once again, there's something that's being weighing on me that I feel compelled to share. Life ain't a Hallmark movie, folks. And quit beating yourself up trying to make your holiday decorations, celebrations, and gifts meet that unrealistic bar. Additionally - It's Okay!!! A crooked little Peanuts tree is okay! A frozen turkey dinner is okay! Using gift bags (and no bows) or newspaper (and no bows) to wrap presents is okay! As long as there is love, joy, and an appreciation of those around you - It's All OKAY!

I realized several years ago that while I 'dream of a white Christmas' in October. . . and started planning activities and decorations in November, it was a struggle to carry through in December and as The Day got closer, the more I felt unprepared, inadequate, and stressed. Yes. Stressed.

Stressed to meet these lofty expectations I had set upon myself, that TV movies and certain Craft Mavens had set before me. Then the guilt would set in. Yes. Guilt. 

Guilt that I let my friends and family down by not attaining the perfectly wrapped gift, the thoughtfulness of homemade fruitcake (well. . . maybe not *fruitcake*) or cookies, or the picture perfect white Christmas.

I finally admitted out loud that all I truly wanted for the holidays - whether it be the Thanksgiving family gathering, or Christmas Day festivities - was a relaxing day of cooking, cocktails, laughing and a generous sprinkling of love.

Through tears, I confessed that as the Holiday-day got closer, my anxiety went up; my depression increased; I became more stressed to the point of actually NOT enjoying the day and spent it just waiting for it to go away and be over. Wow. How very sad is that?

Once it was vocalized, I was reassured that it was okay. 

And while parts of the holiday spirit are going to include some stress (and sadness due to family losses over the holidays in recent years), that it was OKAY to not unpack every Christmas decoration I own and put it *somewhere* in my house.

It was OKAY if presents weren't perfectly wrapped.  And it was OKAY to choose not to make that extra fancy dessert because I just didn't feel like it. It's OKAY.

This year's Thanksgiving found us focusing more on the togetherness aspect and working together to create a lovely meal and relaxing day enjoying each other's company. This mood carried over to the Christmas decorating that took place on that Friday (wasn't Black Friday for us) and I put out fewer Winter Holiday decorations than most years. And it was Okay.

I chose my favorite things (such as my Dad's sled and Mom-in-Law's ice skates) and things that were easily located amidst its storage box mates (such as the little wooden 'present' boxes on the coffee table and sparkly, leafy garland wrapped around the dining room light). And I was sure to hang my favorite Christmas ornaments on the tree - especially my Snoopy ornament that's not missed one Christmas tree since 1979.

 And. . . It's OKAY!!

The pressure of the Perfect Holiday hasn't been completely erased (perhaps next year. . . ), but the stress is less, the love is more and I've enjoyed the season more. We'll see how I feel as we get closer to Christmas Day and I hope this feeling carries through. But, most importantly, it's OKAY. No matter how you celebrate the holidays - fill it with love, patience with others, and compassion for yourself. It's Okay!

Have an Okay Christmas ~

Robin Z

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