Yes, I’ve ruined a few holidays. Let’s just put it all out there. Take an already busy entrepreneur with a full life, add a holiday season and it can be a recipe for disaster. I know, I’ve ruined a few holidays for me and for the people I love most. I’ll share my story, what I’ve learned and how you can do it differently.
It’s so easy to do and often happens before we can reel it in, like a slow motion train wreck into our fully tinseled tree. Face it, we like things to be great; our parties, our decorations, our gifts, our holiday attire. We like the good stuff. And we’re willing to do almost anything to make the holidays great. This is where the trouble begins.
I remember the first holiday dinner I hosted for family. I planned and plotted and shopped and ran this holiday like a lieutenant general. There were lists and recipes, more lists and endless stops to pick up a “few things”. I had far more ideas than I could execute and had traded sleep for scanning Pinterest for more ideas to add to the list. To say I had over-engineered the holiday was an understatement. But I couldn’t see it. I was blinded by the shiny new tinsel and tablescapes I was now creating in my sleep. I wanted this to be great!
Failure #1 – If planning the perfect party disconnects you from your family and friends, then the party is for you not them.
Meanwhile back at my house, my family and friends were wishing there was time to just enjoy the season. In my head I was enjoying the season. I was so excited to cook and decorate and host. In my frenetic holiday pace, I wasn’t connecting. I wasn’t taking time to be heartbeat to heartbeat with the ones I loved most. I thought this planning and plotting and hosting was great for everyone. Turns out, not so much.
Failure #2 – The devil is in the details.
Finally the night before the big event, well, let’s call it the morning of the event because it was 1:00 am. I was frantically searching the corners of a damp dark basement looking for a specific plate to display some holiday eats. I knew the plate was there somewhere! It was in my head and I had to find it! I was exhausted and my temper was short. Finally it all snapped, I was harshly reminded that I was the only one that gave a $#*! about that plate! Ouch. True. Harsh. Oh so true.
I’d like to tell you that I immediately came to my senses and apologized to my loved ones and ushered in the season kinder and gentler. I didn’t. However, I heard the message and let it settle into my spirit slowly.
Failure #3 – Perfect Makes People Uncomfortable
I want people to come into my home and take their shoes off to curl up on the couch and get comfortable, not because they’re afraid of messing things up.
Over the years I’ve come to learn a few things about the holidays that make them far greater and much less “perfect”.
How Not To Ruin Your Holiday
– Holiday traditions seem to multiply like bunnies in a cage. First, there are a few, then there’s more than you can possibly manage. Families merge, traditions quadruple and then everyone’s tired of it all. Don’t blindly become a hostage to too many traditions or decorations. Ask yourself, why are we doing this one? Or why do we still have this tradition. Stick to the stuff that people actually care about.
Who Matters More Than What
– Focus on the people, not the stuff. Spend time with those that matter most. Being present is the best present you can offer to your friends and family. Ask your family, what are the traditions they care about most.
– If you don’t know the “why” of an event, a tradition, or a decoration, just say no. Pare back the number of things you are trying to manage so you can really enjoy the most important ones.
Say Yes to Self Care and Reflection Time
– Being exhausted and cranky is no way to spend the holidays. Be sure to have some quiet time and stick to as many of your self-care routines as possible through the holidays. Do it for you and for your friends and family. Quiet moments to reflect under those twinkle lights are good for the soul.
Here’s to trimming the schedule, not just the tree and to be the love and peace your friends and family need this holiday season.