The Holidays are Here!

I absolutely love the holidays!!! I go over the top with decorations, drink loads of hot chocolate, and spend time relaxing and hanging out with friends and family. I work hard all year long to earn some well deserved time off, and I love to soak in the spirit of the season.

It is easy, of course, to create special memories this time of year - baking cookies, decorating the tree, and (in NYC) gazing at the holiday displays in the windows of Saks, Bloomingdales and Macy’s.

This time of year comes with a few challenges, though…

I am an optimist, and I go into situations believing there is a way for them to turn out like a scene from a Christmas movie. I imagine our home warmed by a beautiful fire while our boys smile and decorate the tree, while Scott and I lounge on the couch with glasses of champagne, adoring our little ones and feeling grateful. But do most moments actually play out like that? ABSOLUTELY NOT! And, I used to get really, really frustrated when I felt like our beautiful scene was completely destroyed by, lets say, escalating bickering over who gets to put what ornament where.

When comparing reality to a Hollywood movie version of what the scene “should” look like, it is easy to get frustrated and think that things should be somehow different than they are. This happens quite a lot when scrolling Instagram too - often it seems that everyone else has it together and that you should somehow be able to manage better… but that is just not reality.

The truth is that to enjoy yourself during this season (or any other), you have to be as present as possible in the moment. And you can’t do that if you are thinking about how what is happening in front of you isn’t what “should” be happening. And, you can’t be present if you have, essentially, set yourself up for failure by setting unrealistic expectations.

Here are a few tips to help you enjoy this holiday season:

Watch how often you use the word “should”, and and try replacing it with something like: “Here is what I would like to happen.” Instead of comparing, changing your language can help you find a way to create the environment you want instead of judging what is.

Take as many pictures as you can, and instead of scrolling through social media scroll back through your own pictures and happy memories. Reminding yourself of all the amazing, sentimental, funny, exciting moments you have experienced in the past will help lead to to a better state of mind about the present moment.

Take the time to think about the things that make you feel happy and indulgent that don’t require anyone else’s approval or cooperation, and add as many into your day as possible. Sipping seasonal tea with a scented candle burning and lovely music playing makes me super, super happy. When I am taking care of myself and my husband decides he needs to run to the store for the third time (and I know he is using it as an excuse for some alone time) I can say “sure, honey!” instead of giving him grief about it. And, when my kids decide an ornament is a baseball? I can handle that better, too.

Do not totally give up your regular routine!! I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that if I totally give up running for two weeks and stay up super late I will feel miserable. I won’t have the patience to deal with whatever comes up during special holiday moments and it will be so much easier for me to “should” all over myself.

Respect your family’s routine, too. If I allow my kids to stay up too late multiple nights in a row, overindulge in holiday sweets, watch way too much TV, and then expect them to behave like angels while we take photos in our holiday PJs I am not being at all realistic. And, if my husband typically enjoys a healthy amount of alone time but now has to be with my family 24/7 that isn’t fair to him - he will likely end up being overwhelmed and irritable, which will make it way harder to enjoy much of anything.

This is an amazing, beautiful, heart warming time of year. Take care of yourself, give others space, breathe and be present so you can enjoy it all as best you can. Happy Holidays, everyone!!!