Archive for Holidays

Christmas Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect To Be Enjoyable

If you believe popular media and holiday guides, you may think that everything to do with Christmas from the tree and decorations, to the food, and even how you wrap your gifts has to be perfect. That’s simply not true and deep down you know this. Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect to be enjoyable.

Wonky cookies taste just as good. Handmade ornaments with their flaws are charming. Mix and match holiday decorations reflect your style, your family history, and bring back lots of lovely memories. A burnt pie or an undercooked turkey may seem like a bit of Christmas dinner disaster, but they also give you stories you’ll retell and laugh about for years to come.

Stop striving for perfection. Instead, focus on enjoying this lovely season. At the end of the day, it won’t matter to your children, spouse, siblings, or grandkids how perfectly you wrapped their gifts. What matters is that you chose something meaningful. Don’t spend hours upon hours getting the tree decorated just right if it stresses you out. If you’re enjoying it, by all means go for it, but don’t force yourself to create a picture perfect holiday home. Instead, turn on some Christmas music, get the kids, and have fun decorating the house. Then pile everyone in the car with some hot chocolate and go look for Christmas lights.

When you feel yourself falling into the trap of wanting a perfect Christmas, think back on your favorite childhood holiday memories. I bet it wasn’t about having the perfect tree or nativity display that couldn’t be touched. Instead, our most precious memories are things like baking cookies, making ornaments, or singing Christmas Carols at the top of our lungs.

It’s also important to realize that we all go through tough times. Some Christmases will be lot more challenging than others. Maybe there was a death in the family. Maybe you lost your job right before Christmas. Maybe the water heater broke at the most inopportune time. It happens and while there are thousands of things that could happen that could potentially ruin Christmas, how you react to any of them is up to you. Some years, you simply make the best of it and move on.

Do what you can to give your loved ones a good Christmas, and chances are doing so will help cheer you up as well, no matter how big the challenges you’re facing. It’s often these unusual Christmases that will stand out and matter most to your little ones.

P.S. There’s still time to sign up for the Free Vision Board Workshop. When you sign up now, you’ll receive:

  1. Recorded Webinar Workshop to review right away and at your convenience!
  2. Free Inspiring & Supportive Private Facebook Group!
  3. Three Beautiful Vision Board Templates (pictured above).
  4. Vision Board Training Download (pdf).

Sign up today!

7 Tips For Dealing With Family Issues During The Holidays

Families can be a wonderful blessing, or they can be a major pain during the holidays. Frankly, they can be both at the same time. The stress of the Christmas season, combined with the fact that we see more of each other than during the rest of the year, can bring any tension and arguments to a boiling point (especially after this year’s election).

1. Be Patient And Kind

‘Tis the season to be patient and kind. Make this your motto and you’ll enjoy a much more peaceful and relaxed holiday season this year. Remind yourself of this when things get hectic and stressful around Christmas.

I find that the simpler I keep things around the holidays, the easier it is to stay patient and kind. When we have too much on our plate, we get stressed out and irritable. I don’t have to tell you that this leads to a short temper that may cause you to do something you regret later.

2. Walk Away If You Need To

Sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away. If a situation is stressing you out, or spiraling out of control, get yourself out of there. Go take a breather and come back when you can get back to being patient and kind. Sometimes just going into a different room for a few minutes or taking a short walk outside will do the trick. At other times, you just need to leave before you get into an argument with a family member, and that’s ok. There are times when you’re better off getting out of there. If it’s the only thing that will make it possible for you or the people you care about to enjoy their Christmas, you do what you have to do.

3. Check Out A Book

When you have as many ideas under your belt as possible, you have more tools to choose from when dealing with difficult family situations over the holidays. Check out the ideas in “Stress Free Holidays: Bring Back Joy & Peace.” It’s a Kindle book so you can take it with you everywhere!

4. Postpone Arguments When Possible

The holidays only come around once a year. Bite your tongue if you need to and avoid arguments and fights. You don’t have to give in, or bend over backwards for family members you don’t get along with. Think of it more as postponing the argument until after the holidays. Enjoy the time with your loved ones… even the ones who are a little more challenging to love than others.

Remember, when you’re struggling with squabbles and fights around the holidays, that this is a special time of the year and something you can’t get back. Try to put bad feelings aside and celebrate this special time with your family and friends.

5. Squeeze the Tension Away

Try some winter-themed stress balls! Maybe everyone can get one in their stocking or as their small welcome gift when they come for the holiday meal.

6. Count Your Blessings

One last thing to do is to count your blessings. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hectic frenzy of this season, that we forget to look at what positive things are going on. To make this easier, you can download your free printable Gratitude Journal by signing up for my email list. You’ll be notified on more tips and the occasional weekly or monthly challenge to help us all work on moving forward in our journeys through life.

7. Try Some Christmas Coloring

That’s right. Try out some Christmas-themed adult coloring for stress relief. Maybe everyone will want to join in!

 

P.S. You still have time to work on your Vision Board with the Free Vision Board Workshop. When you sign up now, you receive:

  1. Recorded Webinar Workshop to review right away and at your convenience!
  2. Free Inspiring & Supportive Private Facebook Group!
  3. Three Beautiful Vision Board Templates (pictured above).
  4. Vision Board Training Download (pdf).

All free! Sign up today!

Complicated Families Can Make For Holiday Complications

As our families get more complicated, so do the holidays. Most modern families no longer consist of Mom, Dad, 2.5 kids, and one or two adoring grandparents. Instead, you’re dealing with ex-spouses, their new partners and a mix of children, step-children, and various half-brothers and -sisters. With that comes a lot of complication to your already busy holiday schedule.

While each blended family is different, there are some things you can do to simplify the situation and more importantly make sure everyone involved gets to enjoy the holidays. Here are my three ground rules that have served us well.

Find Common Ground

No matter how strained the relationship may be, start by trying to find some common ground. For example, if you share children with your ex, this would be giving the kids a nice Christmas. Start there and keep this most important goal in mind when you make your holiday plans. If nothing else, it gives you a starting point, and a reason to talk and make things work this holiday season, no matter how that ends up looking. For myself and my ex, we schedule a time when we can do something with just our daughter, in addition to whatever time she ends up visiting any of her grandparents.

Finding common ground can be tough when you don’t get along with part of your extended and blended family, but I promise it will be well worth it and make the holiday season that much nicer and more peaceful for yourself and your loved ones.

Be Ready To Compromise

Blended families involve a lot of people and with that come different commitments, traditions, and expectations. In order to make things work this Christmas, be prepared to compromise. Maybe you want the kids at home Christmas morning while your ex wants to take them to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Make it work, even if it means you have to take a drive across town at two in the morning. Maybe you could negotiate doing what they want this holiday in exchange for doing what you want next holiday. My ex is getting married next year and I am NOT looking forward to working in his new wife, but I know it’s in my daughter’s best interest if I can try to get along with his new wife.

The same goes with traditions. Each family has their own traditions, decorations, and holiday plans that tend to clash when you blend two families together. Sit down and have a talk early on in the season with everyone involved. Find out what’s most important to each family member and find compromises that work for everyone. Blend your traditions, and don’t be afraid to make some new ones as well.

Practice Makes Perfect

Last but not least, don’t expect things to go off without a hitch during your first blended Christmas season. It takes time to make this work. New traditions aren’t created in a day. Keep working at it, keep practicing, and before long you will find your stride and come up with the new perfect Christmas for your complicated, but lovable family.

Remember, there’s still time to work on visualizing your goals for both this holiday and next year’s holiday with this Free Vision Board Workshop. When you sign up, you’ll receive:

  1. Recorded Webinar Workshop to review right away and at your convenience!
  2. Free Inspiring & Supportive Private Facebook Group!
  3. Three Beautiful Vision Board Templates (pictured above).
  4. Vision Board Training Download (pdf).

Sign up today!

The Danger Of Coveting A Magazine Christmas

Whether you scroll through Pinterest, flip through your favorite magazine, see holiday ads on TV, or look at my house (I’m kidding! So kidding it’s sad…), perfect versions of Christmas are popping up everywhere during the fall and winter months. While they are nice to look at and can serve as inspiration for your own holiday decorating, cooking, and gift giving, there’s a hidden danger in these perfect depictions of Christmas that you need to be aware of.

The key word here is “perfect.” When you’re looking at these holiday images you’re presented with, there’s a real danger that you start to expect your own family Christmas to have the same look and feel. That’s about as realistic as wanting the perfect, air brushed body that the model on the latest fitness or fashion magazine has. Coveting a magazine cover Christmas will only lead to disappointment and a feeling of inadequacy.

While we may intellectually know not to expect the perfect holiday display in a family with young children and pets, not to mention hay getting tracked in, we may still subconsciously want it after seeing these perfect holiday visions all around us. Since we can’t realistically have a perfectly decorated home, or a color-coordinated tree with designer ornaments, we end up feeling disappointed when we look at the macaroni ornaments on our tree. Or look at no tree because we have a new (stupid?) cat and don’t know what to do yet.

When we fall into that trap, we miss out on a lot of what makes Christmas so special. It isn’t about perfection, gourmet food, and color coordinated ornaments. It’s about sharing a special time of the year with our loved ones. It’s about sharing memories and making new ones. It’s about baking cookies, giving gifts, singing Christmas songs, hanging lights, sipping hot chocolate, and make more of those beautiful handmade ornaments with the kids. It’s about being a messy, loud, and happy family enjoying Christmas together.

Don’t let this idea of perfection take the joy of the holidays out of you. Go bake some cookies and make a big (bigger) mess. Hang those construction paper ornaments with pride. Get out all the kitschy little decorations that remind you of your childhood. Crank up those holiday’ tunes and then nestle up on the couch with some hot chocolate and sugar cookies to watch “The Year Without a Santa Claus.” Who cares that there are crumbs in the blanket and one of the lights on your tree is out. What counts is that you’re having a good time. This year, instead of perfection, embrace coziness, happiness, and love. Merry Christmas!

P.S. Remember, there’s still time to set your vision for next year’s holiday season in the Free Vision Board Workshop. When you sign up, you receive:

  1. Recorded Webinar Workshop to review right away and at your convenience!
  2. Free Inspiring & Supportive Private Facebook Group!
  3. Three Beautiful Vision Board Templates (pictured above).
  4. Vision Board Training Download (pdf).

Sign up today!