If you were asked what you want to remember from the upcoming holidays, how would you respond? Do you want to remember stressed-filled days, running around like a mad-woman, searching endlessly for the perfect gift for everyone? Will you hope for snapshots of yourself losing your temper, frustrated with too many things to do? Probably not.
So what if, instead, you started with the end in mind? Imagine a relaxed but meaningful holiday season – not a perfect one, but one that is deeply satisfying.
To get there, simply use your “LEGS”?
L is for “Let go of unrealistic expectations”
Do you or your family really need the impeccably decorated tree, perfectly iced and decorated cookies, or presents that look like they were wrapped by Martha Stewart? Probably not. What about killing yourself to make flawless home-baked goodies, and decorating your home as if it were to be on the cover of a magazine? Might these be examples of unrealistic expectations that cause more stress than contentment?
If not your own unrealistic expectations, perhaps it’s others’ expectations that need to be addressed. For example, your mother-in-law’s expectation of your cooking, or the need to host a flawless family gathering. Or, perhaps, it’s your neighbors’ or friends’ expectations, that tend to push you over the limit.
Whoever is allowing these ridiculous expectations to be laid upon you, (that would likely be you) tell them, “No more.” Put an end to unrealistic expectations, and then celebrate your new-found freedom.
E is for “Excel at listening”
One of the greatest gifts we can give another person is the gift of listening – and that means listening with our undivided attention. In today’s world of constant interruptions, giving someone our complete attention can be a valuable and welcomed gift.
“G” is for “Give encouragement”
This time of year tends to make all of us feel tired and stretched beyond our limits. Therefore, especially at the holidays, speak words that provide affirmation and encouragement. Intentionally look for opportunities to lift others up. Scripture tells us to say things that are helpful and benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29).
S is for “Simplify”
Have you stopped to consider the fact that you’re an adult – one who has the ability to make wise choices about what she will and will not do? So, why not choose to do less? Choose to buy less. Choose to review your list of priorities and simplify your approach.
Before making any commitments, ask yourself, “Does this have to be done or would the holidays still be memorable if I deleted this from my to-do-list?” If you’re willing to consider simplifying your holidays, you might be surprised at how much you could remove from your plate.
Simply stated: To enjoy the holidays wholeheartedly, use your LEGS!