For the past couple weeks I have had numerous conversations about how “hectic the holidays are.” I had a conversation with the Lowe’s checkout clerk and what she said was, “I’m not done with my shopping, and what do I get my kids, and I swear I think that Christmas comes quicker every year,” which I laughed. Because for how long has it been marked on the calendar as the December 25th?   I also had a dear friend who is equally as busy in her work and with her family, and she expressed to me that her and her family are trying to stop Christmas from coming because that is how busy she is. Isn’t funny how we get so wrapped up in our to-dos, and we also use the holidays as an excuse to be even more busy? What happens during the holidays that seems to crowd our calendars even more? Or is it just really an excuse because we’re still as busy as we were in June as we are in December, and use the holidays as the reason?

I giggle when people this, and I totally understand. I’ve been there. I’ve been there where the Saturday after Thanksgiving the Christmas decorations have to be up. You sit down and wonder, “What’s the date to make all the cookies for the cookie exchange.” And “Oh my gosh, what pictures are the best for our Christmas cards? Because I really needed to have had them printed last week!” Believe me, I’ve been there, so how do I do it? How do I actually make it happen where I can actually not use the holidays as an excuse of being busy? I’m sure you’re wondering.

A few weeks ago I was catching up with a good friend of mine. He was asking me how I was doing because I had also gotten caught up in this hustle and bustle and was pushing to find space to plan out what I wanted to achieve in 2016? However, what I realized was I was putting all of this undue pressure of making sure that I had this strategic plan on my calendar before the end of 2015 when I really hadn’t even finished 2015. Then I was reminded that the sexy seduction of 2016 was just that a temptation to enjoy the rest of what 2015 had to offer me. I realized that I needed to stop jumping ahead in the chapter of life and just settle in and commit to “reading the last few pages.” So getting back to that conversation with my friend, my reply was, “You know, there’s one big thing that I want to get done, and I think I can get it done this week, and all the rest, I can let it roll into 2016.”

From that moment, he reflected to me the life that I had changed from, sacrificing myself at work, caring for and trying to meet the expectations of others, to also having the Christmas decorations up by a certain date, making sure that the cards were mailed out in time, and that employing my husband to create joy and festivities during this “most joyful time of year” was no longer the driver to “enjoying the holidays.”

Now, there are points in which I’m like, “Ahhh, I need to get things done,” like that scenario that went down with pushing to get my desire and dream planning for 2016 done. The minute I actually let go of all of those expectations that I had put on myself and really just decided that it’s important for me to close this chapter of my life in 2015 before I even start to dream of what’s possible in 2016. I actually really did start to enjoy the holidays. I was able to get so much done.   I have been able to sew, quilt, make candy, whole heartedly laugh and enjoy holiday parties with family and friends, hold important planning calls with my friends/support team and also enjoy an amazing happy hour with my alumni sorority sisters. I do get so much done right now, and I don’t use the holidays as an excuse for being busy.

What is a way to stop the madness? How would you really start to enjoy the holidays? I would ask you right now at this point in time, what is one thing that you could give up right now? What is one thing that you can let go and maybe not “do” this season or from now until 2016 that would allow you to have more space and a true enjoyment to relax in the holidays? Not just get through the holidays or use the holidays as an excuse for being super busy, what is that one thing that won’t kill you to let go of? Maybe it’s not participating in the cookie exchange or trying to attend two holiday parties in one night. For me, what I choose not to do this year is send out Christmas cards, make holiday candy or plan a big Christmas Day dinner that has us stuffed into the New Year. I’d love to hear from you and find out what that one thing is that you say “no” to and stop using the holidays as an excuse to be EXTRA busy.

HolIday Flame