I’ll keep this short and sweet, just like that stack of gingerbread pancakes you’re about to inhale. (Yeah, I see you. And it’s cool. I’m on my second plate myself.)
The holidays are a perplexing time. You can run yourself ragged with entertaining family, planning your own travel, franticly shopping for the “perfect” gifts, or tying up loose ends at work in time for the holiday evacuation. And you’re still supposed to be drenched in holiday spirit. Is it any wonder that we don’t have enough gas in the tank to truly feel the joy of the season?
So, how do you slow your roll and find the joy in the holidays?
1) Spend at least one hour each day playing, your way. Set an alert on your phone, and when it goes off, drop what you’re doing and play. Whatever “playing” means to you, just do it. Let go. Read the Dr. Seuss collection to your child, drive around the neighborhood peeping Christmas lights, get a game of flag football going with your cousins. Something as simple as getting on your feet for a stroll around the block with your dad can be priceless. I guarantee you’ll one day be talking about those shared moments way more than recounting those last-minute trips to Target.
2) Let go of perfection. Truth be told: things can always be more or be better. But should they be? Right now I’m staring at my 4-year-old, who is wearing two different socks. He told me he put his underwear on backwards this morning in order “to make my outfit more interesting.” My 1-year-old is galumphing around with a lovely dress on, until I realize it has hidden the fact that she has removed her diaper by herself perhaps hours ago, and suddenly the smell hits me. She has left a rogue turd somewhere in the house. Scavenger hunt time! These are the amazing stories that I will one day use as blackmail. Right now they serve as prime sources of gut-busting laughter, and make us realize how boring perfection would be.
3) Put away your phone/tablet/laptop. While you’re at it, turn that TV off. Be present and undivided. Technology will be waiting for you once the holidays pass, I guarantee you. In fact, go ahead and close this browser page and switch off your device. Scoop up your kid with a smooch, envelope your partner in a bear hug. Hold them for a while. Even when it starts to feel too long, hold them a little longer. Breathe them in.
May you be warm, joyous and well-rested this holiday!