Holiday Expectations

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…unless, that is, there is a house to clean, cookies to
bake and shopping that includes just the right candle for a perfectly accented table setting.
Meanwhile there are the outside decorations, outfits for the office party (one for each, of
course) along with other ongoing holiday obligations. We are all working to experience the
most wonderful time of the year; after all, Christmas is one thing most of this world actually
agrees on. But in the midst of our best efforts there is the reality of life that includes the dog
vomiting a missing UPS man and someone with a sore throat.
With one week until Christmas, now may be a good time to push pause and evaluate what has
been done and what can realistically be accomplished with the time remaining. One way to do
this is by taking time to ask questions of family members in order to increase our understanding
of each person’s expectations and what is important to them. For example, one person may
care less about cookies but really want candy canes to be on the tree. Another family member
may say it’s important to have colored lights and yet another only care that we keep the same
Christmas morning routine. Opinions offered will likely match the number of people living in
your home, but, by understanding what each family member considers their “most important”,
families have an awareness of expectations and wishes and are able to create a to-do list built
around these expressed desires which result in helping others feeling heard and part of the
holiday.
There are years, of course, that are lean and certain traditions have to placed on hold. During
these times age appropriate honesty is best as the family, together makes a plan to celebrate.
Some years bring plenty. This blessing can feel burdensome as connectedness is easily lost in
the frenetic pace to fulfill all desires. This may be a year of change; change that we never saw
coming. 2017 may have been a year beyond our expectations. Whichever type of year we are
having it is always helpful to celebrate remembering and naming what is most important to us.
Working to stay connected to those most dear and reaching out to help someone in need all can
play a part in helping to make this season, one that was truly celebrated.

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