Saturday, December 3, 2016

Lowered Expectations

How are things at your house? The count down to Christmas is getting intense. I know there are some of you who had everything in place for the holiday before Thanksgiving. Or, you wrapped up your preparations over the Thanksgiving weekend. I am not one of you. I imagine there are many of you who, like me, will stumble through Advent and limp into Christmas, getting some things done along the way and leaving other things in the "Well, it was a nice thought" category.

I told someone last night that my secret to "getting it all done" was lowering my expectations. Way lower. And that's okay. If you are like me, the expectations are mostly self-imposed anyway.

The photo-a-day Advent project a couple of years ago was a truly meaningful exercise for me. When it was announced this year, I thought about it. For two seconds. It was meaningful because it required much more thought than I had anticipated. And this year I know I cannot be that focused. Instead I am taking part in Project Peace, a knitting project sponsored by The Healthy Knitter with over 15,000 participants world-wide. It is a simple exercise in mindfulness. With knitting.

I love sending Christmas cards with a family photo. But this year when the grandchildren were here for Thanksgiving, Little Sister was still broken out in hives all over her face from her illness and Baby Girl cried much of that week with an ear infection. So no grandchildren photo happened. My holiday expectations dropped another notch. And that's okay. The list of things-not-done is growing.

Certainly there are many things that will get done. But they will be chosen carefully. We are already opening the doors on our Advent calendar. That means a lot to us. I might not decorate our lamp post. I'm not sure anyone would notice.  Maybe instead of "lowered expectations" I should say we are having a "curated Christmas" Participating in things carefully selected to enhance the season. I am sifting through the events, the recipes, and the traditions and deciding which ones will make us feel better and not feel pressured.

You get the idea. I plan to do what I can, what is meaningful, and truly not worry about the rest. By December 27, no one will remember if there was greenery on the mantle. Or, whether or not I pulled out the Christmas mugs.  We will remember that we were together. We will remember laughter. We will remember that we could feel the love.


Kathy G said...

I have a friend whose motto is ''tis the season of Good Enough '. With her permission I've adopted it.

Mimi said...

Oh, I love that! Would she mind if I adopt it, too? I think I'm there, just without her official motto.

Lynn said...

I needed to read that tonight! Had painters here most of the week.
Christmas tree up - looks pretty good with only lights!
Did several fun things today but am too tired to enjoy decorating the tree.
Your post made me realize that would be just fine - it will get done sometime!

Wandering Wren said...

I agree, loved this post. I'm like Kathy, indeed my life moto is "near enough is good enough" which is why I love an Aussie Xmas! Last year was so hot, we abandoned cooking veggies and had a turkey (on the BBQ) and salad!
Easy peasy :)
Wren x

Mimi said...

And if it doesn't get done, that's okay, too. I found a pair of $2 paper "glasses" at Michael's (the craft store) made for Christmas tree viewing. My husband was thrilled when he looked through them and he could see candy canes at every tree light. He said next year we could skip the ornaments and hand out the fun glasses to everyone who walks in. Kicking myself now that I only bought one pair!

Mimi said...

Can I tell you a secret? We don't do a big Christmas dinner. Ever. I grew up with lots of cousins getting together and everyone brought sandwiches, chips and finger foods. That's my Christmas memory. Now, it's my own family and we still keep it pretty simple.

Barb said...

Oh, I'm glad to hear there are those who say "Good Enough!" We leave for Denver a few days before Christmas to spend time with family. We return to our home on Christmas day bringing our oldest grandson (13) to spend time with us. This year we told him he can invite his twin sister and brother, but he's still deciding if maybe he wants to come alone. I like seeing Christmas decorations (that other's have). However, with us being away, I don't fuss too much at my own house. I have a huge Santa collection but have only put a few out the last couple years.

Mimi said...

We will have a full house over the Christmas holiday. I have to be realistic about how much I can get done. Keeping everyone fed for days is probably more important than decorating every surface! We are keeping it pretty simple this year. Christmas shouldn't exhaust any of us.

Paula said...

Wonderful post! I'm all about simplifying the holidays so we actually enjoy them!

Mimi said...

Hi, Paula! It is so easy to get caught up in the frenzy, isn't it? How far we've drifted from the actual Christmas story in the Bible.