The most important thing on your holiday season to-do list…

Well, here we are – the Christmas countdown is in full swing.

With all of our decorations finally up, I really look forward to just sitting at home beside the tree and all the twinkling lights in our house each evening. With a cup of hot tea in my hands and some Christmas music in the background, it’s the exact moment I look forward to when I think about the holidays.

And I’ve got to admit, I’ve come a long way with this more recent tradition.

I was at a holiday party a few years ago with some friends and their families. There was spiced cider on the stove and delicious hors d’oeuvres on the buffet. The kids got to decorate cookies, make reindeer ornaments, and then of course sit on Santa’s lap for a photo op and special conversation. It was a relaxed, cozy atmosphere meant for everyone to have a nice afternoon inside from the cold.

And at this party, I couldn’t help but notice that my fellow moms were anything but relaxed.

I specifically noticed this in the line for Santa photos. We all dutifully listened to our kids’ conversations with Santa, not for the purpose of enjoying their sweet questions and the pure wonder of the moment, but instead with fingers crossed that their wish lists hadn’t changed and there were no surprises we needed to prepare for.

And at the same time, we were trying to snap the perfect picture, and then add the perfect filter and the perfect caption for Instagram.

And then, if we didn’t already have a professional family photo taken, we were probably taking these photos home to spend hours upon hours on the computer inserting them into the perfect holiday card, updating our ever-growing holiday address lists from the previous year, and then addressing, stamping and mailing each one out.

Sounds exhausting, doesn’t it?

Or actually, does it sound familiar?

I’ll be the first to admit, there is a LOT to do around the holidays. And like you, it’s important to me that I make it special for my family, and create memories and traditions that my kids will remember when they are grown.

But does it have to come at the expense of my quiet evenings by the tree?

You know where I’m going here.

Absolutely not.

As busy wives and mothers, we are each basically running our own event planning company each holiday season – and many of us are the owners, managers and staff all wrapped up in one person.

And that’s probably why, once the holiday season is over and it’s time to put away those decorations for the next year, we are exhausted and somewhat unfulfilled.

And we think: Where did the holidays go while we were making them magical for everyone else?

So here is my OFFICIAL to-do list for you this year.

  1. Be present.

I’m serious. Remember the things you love about the holiday season, and make sure to do them.

Enjoy watching your kids on Santa’s lap, not because you want the perfect photo or insight to their Christmas wish list, but because they won’t ever be this little again.

If you love traditional Christmas cards, then by all means send them. If you don’t – maybe make a photo album online, or put one of your kids in charge as the “family ambassador” this year. But either way, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make them perfect.

Snuggle up and watch Christmas movies in your pajamas.

Be sure to make (or buy) your favorite Christmas cookies, not just the ones on everyone else’s list.

Tell your family what you are REALLY wishing for under the tree Christmas morning instead of “I don’t need a thing.”

Don’t just observe the holiday season, but LIVE IT.

Promise me you’ll give yourself permission to conquer this to-do list over the holiday season, and get your own holiday magic back.

 

 

 

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