Let’s have an early gift exchange, former procrastinators, not involving anybody else yet benefitting others as well as ourselves. To participate in this exchange, we identify expectations that drag us down and exchange them for encouraging expectations that lift us up. The sooner we do this in the season, the more joy we’ll have and the freer we will be to nurture those in our homes. Delaying this exchange can mean disappointment and stress.
First, let’s examine the area of “personal performance” expectations. Even when we drop the weight of perfectionism we talked about last week, we can still place unrealistic demands on ourselves. We don’t intend to try for perfection, but we might try for too much.
Identify the “too’s.”
Is the calendar or schedule too tight – too much to do in too little time? Exchange for a realistic flexible schedule that requires less precision.
Am I planning too many dishes for the time and people involved? Exchange a large assortment for fewer dishes.
Is a dish too demanding for the situation? Exhange the last minute souffle’ that must be perfectly timed (and may not work) for something less persnickety.
Am I requiring too much of myself alone? Exchange “I can do it” for asking others for help. (Bring food, pitch in on clean up.)
Are my expectations too high for small children? Exchange unreasonable hopes for spreading a plastic cloth under their chairs. Exchange an unfriendly- to -children environment with supplies that help occupy wee folk. One friend stocks up on dozens of children’s library books when they have family gatherings.
Are my expectations too high for pets? Exchange controlling critters for boarding them or making other arrangements.
Do I spend too much on gifts? Exchange overspending for creative ideas that are personal, appreciated, and do not cause stress later.
If travelling, am I packing too much? Exchange excess for a streamlined wardrobe of a few mix and match.
Think of yourself as a cheerful facilitator (or participating guest) not a performer or source- of all- provision. Swap “too much” for realistic and nuturing.
What “too’s” can you identify in your expectations for Thanksgiving and Christmas?