The holidays are upon us! We’re a good couple weeks into the joy and mayhem. In my neighborhood, some Halloween lights transformed into Christmas lights overnight. As if by magic. As wonderful as holidays are–or could be–we tend to allow unwanted stress to find its way into them. What we all need is a little advice on how to have perfect holidays (and a little advice for your Elf on the Shelf!)
Here is a brief list of holiday horrors:
- Christmas dinner
- juggling gatherings with families,
- the company parties we’d rather not attend but are expected to,
- gift shopping (Check out How to Find the Perfect Gift),
- grocery shopping in extra-busy stores
- and ensuring your elf has plenty of creativity and freedom to roam about your home looking for mischief.
Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? How can anyone possibly enjoy the holidays with so many varied items for which to ensure perfect execution?
Let’s invoke the Ghost of Christmas Past.
Remember all those perfect parties you had as a kid? Can you remember the times when your mom pulled off the perfect Christmas dinner? Do you recall vividly those parties when nobody argued, nobody imbibed a little too much in holiday spirits, everyone was glad to see everyone and all the food was breezily cooked to perfection?
Neither do I.
I do remember a Christmas party when one of the cousins totally freaked out over something and was a huge embarrassment to himself and his family. I’m not mentioning which cousin this was.
I remember the Christmas when somebody’s candied yams were obviously right out a can. And disgusting. Actually, that was every Christmas. And Thanksgiving.
Maybe it was supposed to be canned yams instead of candied yams. One kid was quite candid about the candied canned yams.
I remember a few parties with inappropriate gifts and a few with obviously regifted gifts. I remember some kids–let’s say–disappointed that another kid got something she didn’t.
Speaking of gifts: Check out How to Buy the Perfect Gift.
Let’s return to perfect parties after a brief discussion about…
A Few Words for Your Elf on the Shelf
Our elf’s name is Holly. That’s her hiding in the plant above. Every year, I have a conversation with Holly.
First I tell her how glad we are to see her and that I hope she’s had a nice spring and summer chilling in the North Pole with Santa. Then I tell her…
“Holly, we’re just glad you’re here. No matter what you do or where they find you, the kids are just glad you’re here. Don’t stress about this. Don’t overthink it. Just have fun. You can play in any room in the house. You can even feel free to hide. The kids will have fun looking for you.
Help yourself to any of our toys, books, appliances or utensils. There are lots of toys here for you to interact with. Have parties, concerts or fights. Climb shelves, swing from lights, write the kids messages in spilled flour.
Mi casa es su casa.
Don’t worry about being too creative. Sure, some of the other kid’s elves, especially some on the Internet, come up with elaborate and generously created scenarios. Don’t worry about them. It’s not healthy to compare yourself to elves who are Internet famous. They don’t look nearly as good without all those fancy Instagram filters.
You don’t have to put the elf in sELFie.
Good ideas will come to you. Sometimes an idea you think isn’t that great will be adored and memorable. Sometimes your most brilliant ideas may not warrant a second look.
The important thing that you show up and have fun.
Fun is what it’s all about.”
That is the conversation I have with Holly every year.
You and I ended up struggling to come up with memorable, perfect holidays.
Why is that?
The best way to have perfect holidays is to let them be imperfect.
Just like mistakes and accidents in movies and songs are quite often what make them more endearing and interesting, it’s the fortunate accidents and unfortunate incidents we remember and talk about year after year.
Stress will only make you miserable. Like Newt Scamander says, “if you worry, you suffer twice.”
Let’s just enjoy the lights, music, parties and time with friends and hope for a disaster that we’ll relish retelling for years to come.
Please share some endearing holiday disasters in the comments. Little is more diverting than others’ suffering…if they can now laugh about it.
Visit Shayne at IndependentlyHappy.com
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