Do you still have a long Christmas to-do list? Still have gifts to buy, wrap, or hand out? Going a little crazy because there’s too much to do and so little time?
That’s exactly how I feel.
If you are like me, you complained about Christmas decorations and music hitting the stores in October. You cried that Thanksgiving wasn’t even over yet and Christmas was already in our faces.
And then you blinked because all of a sudden you had less than a few days to prepare for the big day. Just like the year before and the year before that, you wonder, where the heck did the time go?
Well, this Christmas eve post is for you.
Just… let it go.
That Christmas dash to the finish line we all somehow end up in? The madness, the craziness, and the chaos? Let’s end it now!
Let go of the anxiety about whether it’s the perfect gift. Let go of the stress caused by the clutter and the mess in your home. Let go of the urgency to get everything done now.
I’m not saying to stop wrapping gifts or buying stuff or baking or cleaning. We inevitably have to do some sort of planning or coordinating, especially for visits and gatherings with friends and family.
Ahem, I may or may not have stayed up till almost midnight every night of this week wrapping gifts…
Accept that you can only do so much, you can only control so many things, and you can only work as hard as your body and mind will allow.
How can you possibly make this happen? Here are some things that work for me:
1. Cut the to-do list in half.
Focus on the most important tasks and let go of everything else. Buy the cookies from the store, use a gift bag instead of wrapping paper, clean only the bathroom and the kitchen and don’t worry about every closet and doorway of the house…
2. Be present.
When I look back each Christmas, I don’t remember the how many cookies I ate, how clean someone’s house was, or how fancy the gift presentation was. I remember the love shared. I remember the warmth of everyone’s presence. I remember that my family was together, healthy and happy.
3. Enjoy the small things.
Sometimes I get so caught up in the cleaning, the cooking, the gift-wrapping… I forget to stop and smell the roses. I miss out on the hilarious things my babies are doing and saying. The sun shines through the window, but I don’t step outside to soak it in. Everyone in the room is laughing over a joke and I’m staring blankly into space, thinking about how many things I can cross off my to-do list. Don’t get caught up. If it’s important, it’ll get done. If it didn’t get done, it wasn’t that important and I promise no one will notice.
4. Choose joy.
Yes, you can make a less than pleasant gesture at the driver who just cut you off. Yes, you can whine about the long lines at the store. Yes, you can wish for more time and money and energy. But you have another choice. You can choose joy. You can be graceful and patient and understanding and forgiving. You don’t have to bend over backwards. You just have to breathe and realize that only you are in charge of how you perceive each situation.
5. Shake it off.
Taylor Swift is on to something. Just shake it off! Laugh about it, cry about it, yell about it. But please, I beg you, accept it and move on. When in doubt, speak up and tell someone how you really feel. Do something you really want to do. Or at the very least, make peace with yourself and forgive yourself. But don’t wallow in self-pity or regret or loneliness. Reach out to those around you, make someone smile. It’s all small stuff.
Here’s to wishing you a Christmas Eve that is just a tad bit jollier, a little bit brighter, and a touch easier to handle!
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What are some last-minute Christmas survival tips that help you make it through?
What is the number one thing you are looking forward to this Christmas?
Tell me in the comments!