More Tradition, Less Obligation

I had a conversation with several of the mamas in my local moms group a few days ago revolving around our likes and dislikes of the holiday season. And during that conversation the idea of tradition came up…

Now, I’ll be honest. I’ve worked pretty hard in an attempt to establish some fun (mostly) and meaningful traditions for our family during the Christmas season. But the more we discussed, the more I realized that much of what I viewed as tradition have actually become obligations…A need to do more, to be more, to have more this time of year.

Feeling a little overwhelmed by the holiday season? Check out my suggestions for a Christmas with more tradition and less obligation.

So this year, I’m trying something a little different. This year we’re going for more tradition and less obligation. I’m picking and choosing a few of the things that are most meaningful to us, making the most of those, and letting a few of the other “traditions” slide. And you know what?!

It’s already brought me SO much more joy and ease in this busy season! The crazy thing is too I’m not nearly finished with my shopping, I haven’t made one Christmas cookie yet, and I have no idea when any presents will be getting wrapped in our home – all things that would have stressed me to the max in years past…But I have actually had the ability to be present, to be restful, and to just love being in the moment with my family!

It’s been such a different experience for me this year I have to share! It’s easy to get caught up in all of the “have tos” of the season that we miss out a little on the “want tos.” But this year, I want to help you flip that on its head. Let’s make it more about the want tos, the joy and wonder, the good of the season…More tradition, less obligation.

1. Make a list.

I get it. You’re probably already rolling your eyes here…Of course you’ve made a list! But the type of list I mean is one that shows what is really important to you and your family during the holidays. Create a list of things that bring you joy and ones that bring you stress, and then prioritize those things that bring you joy and nix the ones (that you can) that don’t.

2. Say no more.

Gah! This is one of THE hardest for me! I’m a people pleaser and a yes woman, BUT having a too full schedule and too many obligations does NOT bring me joy! (It actually leaves me feeling used up and empty!) So this year I’ve been gradually saying no to a little more so I can yes to those things that are the BEST for my family!

Feeling a little overwhelmed by the holiday season? Check out my suggestions for a Christmas with more tradition and less obligation.

3. Find the right tools.

You know that I’m all about having the tools and resources to help me (and YOU) be successful! So obviously this is a suggestion here…I happened upon this fun FREE Holiday Planner recently, and it aligns to this idea of a meaningful, joyful Christmas perfectly! Even with something like this, though, only use the parts of it that serve YOU and your family! If you’re not in a space to do all of the suggestions, nix them this year and keep it in mind if it might be something you could do next year.

4. Think short-term.

Okay, so I get that sometimes we commit to our “traditions” because it’s something we want to have our families remember for years to come. But here is the thing…Just because you said no to a holiday party this year, doesn’t mean you have to next year or the year after. Case in point, we said no to the Elf on the Shelf this year (because even the thought of pulling it out this year had me stressing), but that doesn’t mean next year we can’t start it up again.

5. Remember the reason.

You know, when it really comes down to it the reality is that if we put all of our traditions in context of why we actually celebrate the season…Well, I’m pretty sure that the perfectly wrapped packages or even the twelve different kinds of cookies aren’t really all that important. Focus on the real gift that we celebrate with Christmas and keep it all in perspective.

I too have these dreams of the perfect, Instagram-worthy, Pinterest-planned holiday. But when it comes down to it, all I really want for Christmas is peace, joy, and love. More tradition, less obligation. So these are just a few of the ways I’m cultivating that this year. And it’s my prayer that you too can enjoy the same.

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