Dear Santa ...
This year, could you please bring me the perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas? (Or I guess Martha Stewart will do.) I would like to have a flawlessly decorated tree with perfectly wrapped packages underneath. I want to set a stunning holiday table with a gorgeous handmade centerpiece. I'd like to find the perfect gifts, mail Christmas cards to everyone on my list and concoct yummy treats to share with my co-workers. Oh ... and elaborate decorations that will be the envy of my friends and neighbors would be nice, too. And could you sprinkle a little magic dust to help me write some perfect holiday blog posts in the next couple of weeks?
Santa, I realize this is a pretty tall order. Perhaps I should prepare for your inability to deliver. Maybe I should realign my expectations. The more I think about it, that Norman Rockwell image of Christmas does seem a bit unrealistic. It really is an illusion, isn't it? I mean, after all, life isn't perfect. I'm not perfect. And I guess the people in my life who really matter won't care if the pie I serve is store-bought instead of homemade. They'll still love me, right?
You know, Santa. I think I've just rewritten my Christmas list. Could you just send me an early gift of wisdom, patience and clarity? And throw in a dose of calm, if that's not too much to ask. Maybe then I'll be able to relax and enjoy the season. I guess I need to slow down, embrace the holiday and just take each moment as it comes. If I don't plan on what to expect, then I won't be disappointed!
Santa, I've decided to make a new list and check it twice. I will set aside time to do what I can, check off my completed items and just forget the rest. Wow, Santa. Writing to you has really helped me get my head on straight. What I really want for Christmas is to stop fretting and share the joy of the season with those around me. And, I guess the only person who can deliver that is me. Thank you, Santa. I think you've already sent that gift of clarity my way.
P.S. I hope you won't mind if I don't have time to put out milk and cookies. I may be so busy enjoying Christmas with my family that I forget all about it!
I hope that we all take the time to enjoy the holiday season and embrace it — with all its imperfections. Do you struggle with trying to do it all during the holidays? Do you have suggestions for experiencing a stress-free, pressure-free holiday season? Please share your insights in the comments below.
P.S. to readers:
If you find yourself overwhelmed during the holiday season, this article from Mayo Clinic offers excellent tips for coping with stress and depression:
Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping