This time of year is quickly filled with the hustle and bustle of shopping, entertaining & holiday parties.  These are all wonderful things that I enjoy, why is it I get side tracked into a ‘Bah Humbug!’ frame of mind?  The short answer is that I am a perfectionist, always on the look out for the perfect gift, decoration & dish.  This perfectionism sucks the fun out of things and adds unnecessary stress.  Currently, my favorite quote is Jane Fonda’s: “We are not meant to be perfect, we are meant to be whole.”  This has become my mantra.

Here’s how I intend to carry this sentiment out this season.

1. Having an attitude of gratitude: Instead of focusing on what I don’t have done, I’m focusing on what I have accomplished.  Too often we disregard the positives and zone in on the negatives; what we don’t have, what we haven’t done, etc…  Today, I’m focusing on the fact that I have a happy, healthy family, we have a roof over our heads & are blessed with a large group of family & friends.

2. Live in the moment: While I’m decorating the house, I will enjoy the holiday music playing in the background, I will reminisce with my family over the ornaments, not race to get them on the tree so I can rush on to the next task.  I will be present & enjoy making these new memories with my loved ones.  The cellphones, t.v. & other distracting gadgets will be off, & we will talk about our favorite holiday memories & traditions. Remembering favorite vacation memories as we hang ornaments (I always buy an ornament that signifies what we did that summer).

3. Plan ahead: I will make sure I have some menu plans, a refrigerator stocked with good & healthy foods, & a game plan for my holiday shopping.  I will remember that planning does not have to be synonymous with obsessing with finding the perfect gift or hosting the perfect party.  How often have you searched for the perfect gift, just to have the child not play with it, or enjoy the wrapping more?  I will focus on the experiences, more than actual things. A dear friend once told me, “We have just as good of a time when you keep it simple as when you make a fancy dinner.” She was right, and I have a better time when I keep it simple too.

4. Make time for yourself: Even though my list is long and time is short, I will take some of that precious time to indulge in a bubble bath, catch up with a friend, or watch my favorite holiday movie with a big bowl of hot air popcorn with butter infused olive oil. I will remember that I need to recharge my batteries so I can happily & lovingly do all of the things I need & want to do in order to make this a wonderful holiday season for my family.

When it’s all said and done, don’t you want to look back with peace of mind & spirit, reflecting on what a fun holiday season you’ve had, not what a stressful one?  I’m going to curl up on the couch with my family,  a big bowl of popcorn, & watch my favorite holiday movie, ‘Christmas Vacation’, & realize that it really is a wonderful life.  I’d love to hear your favorite holiday tradition/memory. Please share in the comments below.