Merry, Merry Christmas!
I pray that you have a most wonderful Christmas celebration with people you love. My parents are in town, and my husband has a rare Christmas off work, so this is a very special holiday for me!
Before I sign off and dive into all of the holiday festivities, I thought I would share a few things I’m reminding myself of this season.
1. Expectations are dangerous: For best results, lower them. Yes, it is Christmas…and some of us can’t seem to shake the mindset that Christmas should be magical in every way. But we also live on earth where nothing, and no day, will ever be perfect. Someone is likely to get sick. Or throw a fit. You might be PMSing or overly-tired (or both.) Others might be too. Someone might be disappointed with their gift, dinner might be a fail, and if you attend any kind of church service, it is almost guaranteed that you’ll be running late. Things almost never go as planned. The truth is, holidays are often pressure-filled, challenging times ,and it is best to go into them anticipating that. So, here’s my advice: Enter the holidays with minimal expectations, and maintain an open, happy mindset, and they will usually go better than you could have planned. Relax. Laugh. And enjoy.
2. Be careful on social media. My brother sent me this podcast last week, and it was super eye-opening. If you have time, give it a listen, but one of the take-home points from the podcast was about research which showed that people rate their perceived level of happiness in whatever they are doing, LOWER after spending time looking at social media. So, for example, if someone was in the middle of a fun activity, and rated their level of happiness as an 8, then spent some time scrolling through Facebook, then asked to again rate their level of happiness, they would give it a lower score. Sad, but true.
We all need to keep in mind that everyone is posting their highlights…they are not showing how they look straight out of bed, the fight they just got in with their spouse, or their credit card bills. Even I might post pictures of our beautiful Hawaiian sunsets and the cute new puppy, but be assured we have had a lot of rainy days lately, and that cute puppy…is leaving us some puddles of his own. Nowhere, (not even Hawaii) is it always paradise, and everyone has bad days. If you find social media dragging you down (and that might take a moment of honest reflection to determine) then stay off of it. Or you can do what I often do, and post whatever you feel like, then walk away before scrolling. During the holidays, choose to be present. (Even if your “present” is chilling on the sofa for some quiet alone-time.) You can catch up with your social media feed later!
3. Gratitude changes everything. I know Thanksgiving is over with, but the benefits of embracing a grateful heart go on and on and on. This Christmas, I encourage you to meditate on the amazing gifts we often take for granted: God — who loves us so much He left Heaven to come show us the way. (I suggest reading the entire book of John in the New Testament for a healthy reminder.) More to be grateful for: Living in a free country. The chance to work, play, and take a hot shower. A family (even if imperfect!) that loves us. True friends. Really: every breath that we breathe, every meal that we eat, every moment we enjoy..is a gift.
I will be spending the next few weeks soaking up time with my family, and maybe sneaking in a bit of work on my book. I’ll be back here sometime shortly after the New Year. If you feel like catching up on some of my posts, you might start with All of the Boy posts, or catch up on Dave and I and our Life in our 40’s series. You can always use my search bar to look for topics of interest as well. (Like birth order, kids who argue, or moms who need to tame their temper…) And yes, I’d love to stay connected on social media…when it’s in the flow for you and for me… 😉
Mele Kalikimaka and many blessings!
Comment below with anything to add…How you’re spending your holidays…holiday survival tips? Something you’re grateful for!? I always love hearing from you!
AMAZON GIVEAWAY WINNERS: To all of you who ordered my son’s book, Sub-Marine, thank you!! I drew 3 names from last week’s post and will be emailing winners each an Amazon Gift card! (see winners listed over at last post.) Of course it’s still not too late to order(a Kindle edition would be ready immediately and would still make a great Christmas gift! 🙂 Also, a friendly reminder: If/when you read Sub-Marine, if you would take just a minute to leave a review on Amazon (or wherever you bought it) it would mean so much to him. Thank you!