This Christmas won’t be like the ones you have curated and cherished. This is a holiday during a pandemic and we are having a universal experience of learning what that can look like.
As moms, we do most of the Christmas planning. We have gifts lists, treats, parties planned, gatherings set up. This job is often an exhausting one but one that we go through every year because we are always longing for those special moments of joy, hope and connectedness that are possible.
Christmas during covid means the plans we make, the gatherings, the parties are all going to look different.
That is hard to accept. We long for what we know and what feels like Christmas to us. This year means teaching ourselves new ways to feel Christmas.
If you are like most moms, and myself, it is a hard task to think outside the box, beyond our expectations and get excited about something different when we have this idea in our mind of what Christmas SHOULD be.
The first step here is to acknowledge your expectations. Because here is the issue – we have a lot of expectations – about who does what and how they act and how they feel, and what we will get to do, and all the ideals we have in the back of our mind. We might not be fully aware of them. But trying to be proactive by noticing them before they go unmet (=resentment) the more we can manage them ahead of time. This includes letting unrealistic ones go, AND taking responsibility for making them happen.
In this episode:
- Handling your Christmas expectations
- Where ‘all or nothing thinking’ can keep you stuck and blocked off
- Two things that can bring more intentionality into your Christmas: values and the bucket list
- How to use these two things in a way that works for you and your family
- Letting yourself feel disappointed about the Christmas you had hoped for
- Finding ways to take your power back and plan a Christmas you can get excited about
All of this is unpacked in the Simple Christmas Planner. Which is designed to walk you through designing, planning and DOING your Christmas with intention and in a way that works for you and your family. Because the goal is to have a Christmas season that you can SHOW UP for, one that you can feel present for, one that you can actively enjoy in the moment! This doesn’t JUST HAPPEN, you need to do it with intention.
Full transcript at the bottom of this post.
The ON PURPOSE workbooks (Simple Christmas Planner)
Episode main topics: Christmas, expectations, planner, kids, plan, values, Christmases, year, excited, happen, podcast, family, simple, talk, list, intentional, feel, purposeful, bucket list, purpose
Welcome to the Simple on Purpose Podcast! This podcast is your check-in your regular reminder, your regular coffee date with me, where I remind you to bring it all back to simplify, slow down and show up for your life, the life right in front of you, you are allowed to enjoy it.
Today I want to talk about an issue that we’re all edging into. And that’s Christmas. I’m in Canada. So we’ve had snow for a while where I live. We’re all thinking about Christmas, I see Christmas trees in the windows around the neighbourhood. Christmas music is popping up on the playlist. My kids are trying to play it – everyone’s just getting ready for Christmas. But without really knowing what to expect, right? And I know each province, each state, each country is going through something a little bit differently.
I will say though I am done my Christmas shopping, I’m so proud of that I didn’t want to rely on a lot of shipping. So I went to the stores. In early November, I had a list I stuck to the list and made a budget I stuck to the budget I’m really proud of myself. One thing that we have adopted here is to do the for gifts for our kids where it’s something you want something you need something to wear something to read. And then we do just like candies and pens and their stockings like simple stuff.
So we keep Christmas pretty simple. They get excited about the idea of writing out that list. And I just feel like it’s really manageable. Because I’m a boring mom who would just like give her kids toothbrushes, and sneakers and socks for Christmas. So I always have to come back to enjoying the idea of giving them things they want, like it feels good to get something you want. And I have to keep like reminding myself to actively do that with my kids. Because God does that. For us. It’s a beautiful thing.
So today I want to talk about the idea of making a plan for your Christmas. And you might have heard me mention I have this simple Christmas planner. And this is a guidebook that helps you design your Christmas on purpose, prepare your space for it, make all the lists planned out, there’s a planner involved in it. So if you don’t have a planner for the end of the year, just even get the planner and you can use that as an intentional living planner.
But I want to talk about even before you make a plan, your heart has to be ready for that. That’s what I want to talk about. Because right now the idea of a COVID Christmas might feel overwhelming, you might be angry, you might be confused about what’s expected of you what you’ll be able to do, you might just be worn out, I get it.
So the first thing I want you to pay attention to is the expectations you have this year. This is one of the first steps in the simple Christmas planner is to outline what expectations Do I have, you’re going to want to outline them now. Because the reality is we often don’t know we had an expectation until it’s not met. And there’s this popular saying “expectation are premeditated resentments”. But taking a minute to like tap into what you’re actually hoping for and what you really wish is going to happen. And putting that on paper is going to help you see what expectations you have.
And there are a few things I want you to keep in mind about expectations.
The first one is just thinking it should happen, doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. And I mean that on two levels. The first one is we probably have a lot of shoulds like what should be happening in the world right now. And we’re really fighting against the reality there.
And the other part about thinking our expectations should just happen is one other people can’t read our minds if they are reliant on other people to take a certain action or be a certain way. We need to take responsibility that they don’t know that they can’t read our minds. The other part about expectations is thinking they just should happen is that we also need to take action, we are the ones who act them into place.
So looking at your list of expectations, if you take a minute and you write out maybe 10, you’re probably going to uncover some things that you didn’t realize that you’re actually holding on to for this season. The way that people show up the things that happened, the things that don’t happen.
So just start to take those one by one and sit with them. Ask which ones you feel like might be unrealistic.
It’s a pretty universal experience we’re having this year dealing with a Christmas during a pandemic. And there’s a universal experience we’re going to feel of mourning what can be. It’s like planning a big exciting trip to go to a place you’ve always wanted to go, you’ve been looking forward to it. And then instead you land somewhere differently.
Like I feel like this could even be a Christmas hallmark movie. The plane goes into another town and the person’s all upset and they’re trying to get out of town to the place they’re meant to be doing all that work and all of that frustration. When all along they could have enjoyed themselves blah, blah blah.
You get it and I’ve experienced it disappointing Christmases, I’ve had Christmases where I lived in up north, and my husband was out of camp and Christmas was happening. And I was alone. Eventually, I had extended family that would invite me over or friends who treated me like family. But there are Christmases I spent alone. Or when my husband was working in our kids were just babies and he would work on Christmas through Christmas. And so we had to have Christmas on another day. Like I get it. I’ve had unmet expectations, disappointing Christmases.
But I want you to pay attention to thinking of your expectations. And noticing if there’s any all or nothing thinking, like, if I can’t gather with my family, it won’t even feel like Christmas. Or every year, we have that really fun work party, and we do all these fun things. And now I have nothing to get dressed up for be excited about.
All or nothing thinking if it can’t be 100, it has to be zero. And that’s going to block you off from what is possible this year. And I don’t mean to just ignore what is hard and sad. It’s really okay to mourn what can happen, like allow that allow you to feel sad, feel your feelings. But give as much or more time to what can happen. allow for that to allow yourself to make space for new experiences here, it might not be ideal. But it doesn’t mean it can’t be special.
Because really, you get to decide what feels like Christmas, what’s worth celebrating? What brings you together? You get to decide. So don’t block yourself off by thinking it needs to be zero or 100. What about the one to 99 options in between.
So if you feel like you are ready to be open to that, to be open to saying well what can be what is possible for me here, let’s get intentional. And I’m going to give you two tools to have an intentional Christmas.
And the first one is values. You hear me talk about it all the time values is when we feel like we are living in line with the things that are important to us the things that are a priority to us, that the character, the qualities, the integrity that we want to have and bring into things.
This can be a conversation you have with yourself with your husband as a whole family. What is important to me and how I show up this year, what values are important to me, what values are important to us as a family.
And maybe this year, you’ll be trying out a new value. Maybe it will be less about your values of community and more about your values of coziness and intimacy. Or maybe you’ll decide to challenge yourself to find a new way to act out your value. If let’s say community is a value, what is a new way that you can act it out in these circumstances.
So get to know your values. Remember, our values are often handed down to us by the people who raised us the authority figures in our life. And now in this modern culture, they’re handed over to us through social media, we’re adopting the values of other people. So we need to get back into ourselves, get rooted into the personal values that we have for ourselves, what’s important to us and how we show up.
If you want help with that I do have the live your values worksheets on the website, I’ll link them in the show notes.
And the other thing about getting intentional is I want you to kind of get excited, make a bucket list this year, we do this almost every season that we go into whether it’s Christmas or summer, or like an extended break, where we’re all together is we make a bucket list with our kids. What do you want to do? What are you excited about doing let’s make this big brain dump of a list. We might not do them all. But now we have ideas on things that everyone’s going to get value out of out of and we can put them into our calendar.
So you’re really gonna want to think outside the box this year, I’ve been seeing a lot of really great ideas about writing letters to people in care homes, or having zoom parties, like how can you show up for people from where you are? How can you still do those things you’re excited about from where you are.
And like I said, I like to take this bucket list and plan a few days in advance. So I know over the next few days, these are the things that we’re going to be doing. This is something that I learned when I was home with three small kids that just having one thing planned today can make your life feel so much more productive, you feel so much more in control. Your kids are excited about it, they have something to look forward to. You can prepare for it, whether it’s mentally, emotionally, physically, whatever, like by the craft supplies, or mentally prepared to take your kids on an outing, whatever.
And it allows us to use our time on purpose. So I can look back at the end of the week and say, I did the things I wanted to do. I didn’t just wait for things to happen or I didn’t just let things you know come up as it came up. I made a plan. There’s a lot of power in that for real. I know it sounds super dorky. There were so many years of my life that I thought planning was for like high level executives and Olympian athletes and beyond say, but no, it’s for every person. Every person should have a bit of a plan each day so that they can feel purposeful and productive at the end of the day.
This season is gonna push you, it’s going to be like no other Christmas before. And I don’t want you to think there’s only two options. One is to be disappointed. And the other one is to make the best of it. Because actually, both are going to happen together, right? I’m disappointed in my Christmas didn’t work out. And I’m excited about what the Christmas is gonna look like the Christmas that I get to decide.
I want you to take some of your power back that you can roll up your sleeves, and you can do what’s best for you and your family, like generations of women have done before. Let’s keep bringing it back to what matters most to me right now. How do you I want to be showing up?
Preparing your mindset, getting rooted in your values, and getting excited about what could be well allowing a little bit of mourning for what isn’t going to be that is going to help you move forward and be intentional with this Christmas, instead of just letting it happen that you feeling like a victim of it. It’s gonna let you be proactive with it, proactive and purposeful, so that you can show up and actually enjoy Christmas.
So what do you want Christmas to be this year?
And let me remind you that all of what I talked about today it is directly from the Simple Christmas Planner. I can’t wait for you to grab your planner and just walk on this journey with me to creating a purposeful Christmas in a time where it’s really hard to be purposeful. So if the Simple Christmas Planner is something for you stop by the website, click the on purpose workbooks. And that is one of the options there for you. Once you have this planner, you’ll have it year after year.
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