I am a big believer in simplicity. With the Holidays quickly approaching, I look at my already packed calendar and start to feel my blood pressure rising. This is one of my favorite times of the year, but I need to keep things simple, or I start to feel stressed in a hurry. Trust me; that is not a pretty sight.
I do not enjoy planning and orchestrating big parties, fighting crowds at the mall while shopping for the perfect gifts, spending hours making intricate handmade decorations, or coming up with creative ways to pose the (not so) beloved Elf on the Shelf. (Check out this post about our lazy elf if you are in the mood for a good laugh.)
My idea of the perfect Christmas involves a few simple gifts, minimal decorations, delicious food, festive music, a few close friends and family, a simple presentation about the real meaning of Christmas, and snuggling up to watch Miracle on 34th Street or White Christmas. I could do without all the fanfare, the parties, and the entertaining. I even get overwhelmed with all of the great suggestions about how to make the Holidays meaningful – especially if they involve doing something every day of the already overly busy month of December. (Advent calendars and I don’t get along.)
I want to scale things WAY back, or I simply do not enjoy the journey.
However, I am married to a man who loves Christmas lights almost as much as he loves me. He has always dreamed of having the house that is all lit up at Christmas time – the one that the whole neighborhood flocks to, just to experience the magic.
Ever since we bought a house after finishing ten years of school, he has been working to build handmade, animated Christmas displays. He is a dentist by trade, not an engineer, so there has been a ton of trial and error, but that is all part of the fun for him. Each year, he takes what he has learned in the past and applies that knowledge to making things better, brighter, and more beautiful.
That display is his pride and joy. And when I say joy, I mean JOY. I mean that he LOVES everything about the process of going above and beyond the norm to create something extraordinary. He plans for it all year and savors every moment of the experience.
With my desire for simplicity and his desire to push the limits of awesome and create something big and impactful, I have learned that there is not a one-size fits all recipe for a joyful Christmas. Some people thrive on the “Go Big or Go Home” approach, while others, like me, want to slow things down and savor the small moments.
The secret to enjoying the Holidays is to stop playing the comparison game and approach the festivities in a way that brings you joy.
If it makes you happy to go all out and make amazing Christmas memories with your slam-bang celebration, do it. If the thought of orchestrating something big causes you stress or steals your joy, follow your instinct to scale things back and stay grounded in roots of simplicity.
Do what feels right and energizing to you, despite what everybody else is doing. Therein you will find your holiday happy place.
Your heart will tell you what is best if you are willing to listen.