A very funny postcard or cartoon I saw- ages ago now- pictured a woman lying on the floor while her family looked on, puzzled. The caption read: “The Server is Down”.
I can relate. I bet you can too. That feeling of doing all the things and it still not being ‘enough’. The worry that if you weren’t doing ‘all the things’, would ANYTHING get done at all? And
Wait - do you hear bells…? 🔔
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year….”
No sooner have the pumpkins been carved, up go the twinkly lights and the Christmas Countdown BEGINS!
YAY! FAMILY FIGHTS!
YAY! LAST MINUTE SHOPPING IDEAS!
YAY! WHY AM I SHOUTING?
It’s enough to make your heart race.
Speaking of racing…
I used to spend Christmas Eve whizzing around the local supermarket, frantically putting anything (WHAT DO YOU MEAN THERE'S NO SELECTION BOXES LEFT…?) into my trolley. It was like I was on a reality TV cooking show, the clock ticking away, as the presenters gleefully reported on the dinner’s progress, and I run out of milk and sanity again.
As a pharmacist, I had no days off before Christmas. So my shopping was always last minute. There was no settling onto the sofa, the fire on, glass of bubbles in hand while the tree twinkled in the background. It was an all-out siege to get everything done- presents wrapped- wait- presents…?
Why is there so much pressure for one day? And what about those days after Christmas and New Years, when we could really do with a party? That’s when it all seems rather gloomy- unless you’ve gone away to Barbados for the holidays. In which case- can I come too?
Where’s it coming from? Not the baby Jesus. He just wants a change and a burping…
It’s almost all external pressure, layered on you, thicker than Aunt Madge’s Royal icing… And let’s face it, the pressure is leveraged by all the shops advertising Christmas and the holidays earlier and earlier. Black Friday Sales, an American thing now making its way across the Atlantic takes the prize for complete insanity. Crowd Goes Crazy during Black Friday | Ultimate Shoppers - YouTube
Just Because You CAN Do It All,
Doesn’t Mean You Should
There are no trophies for Mother of the Year.
You know the expression, never pour from an empty cup? Well, maybe we can amend that to- our cup shouldn’t overflow onto the ground either. Besides, I just mopped.
So here’s a full-on Choose YOUR OWN JOYFUL ADVENTURE- The Holiday Series… Checklist
- Delegate. Yep. I know, as hard as it might seem to watch someone not mop as perfectly as you’d like, sometimes it’s okay to let good enough be the MO. I use a chore list with boxes to check for each member of the house. It actually works. I also order in groceries- it's amazing how much time, effort and energy this will save you.
- People aren’t mind readers. They need to know that you’re overloaded. Don’t end up in a heap, weeping in the kitchen wrangling lobsters into a pot of boiling water, while the soufflés fall, and the guests in the other room are blissfully unaware. Tell people you’re done like dinner.
- Set the Table of Boundaries… Is there a person who really Grinches your Festive spirit? Here’s your permission to say bye to them. They probably won't notice anyway as, let’s face it, you were never their priority. Sure people will balk and say things like- “But you always host 40 at Christmas Eve till the wee hours of the morning! It’s so much FUN!” Hmm 🤔 Think about how much more fun Christmas morning will be feeling well rested.
- Enjoy the Silence…Resist the urge to tell them the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Now is not the time to tell everyone off and settle old grievances. Whatever you do, say nothing, as my granny used to tell me. And this goes the other way too. You have every right to declare, “Not today”, to someone if they want to dig up the ghosts of Christmas past.
- Write a List- a Happy One. What makes you happy? Who makes you happy? Do them all. Erm, the things, not the people. Or maybe the people. Listen, we are all adults.
- What would you like Second Helpings of? Love? Hugs? A walk? A coffee with a friend? Volunteering to share with those in need? Movie night with the family?The ones you do get along with…
While all of this might seem small in the face of the enormous, global challenges at the moment, we mustn't give up on ourselves and our need to receive and give joy.
Let that be your gift to you and to your circle however small that may be. Remember-
If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito- African Proverb