The Myth of “Have to” & what I learned from my ‘minimum compliance’ Christmas

We managed to survive yet another Christmas! We should all take a moment to pat ourselves on the back and exhale as we reflect on yet another majorly stressful holiday that we can tick off of that long ‘to do’ list.

I, for one, have not been feeling very festive since my Dad passed in 2016. My Mom was the first to depart – December 2010 – and although it was really hard, I took pride in keeping our family traditions alive and honoring her memory, by making Christmas the truly magical time that I had grown up with. But when Dad passed in October 2016, it felt like it was all over and like there’s just really no point to any of it.

So, for the past 2 Christmases, I have been in ‘minimum compliance’ mode. I have two young children and I want them to have fond memories of Christmas, but I just don’t have the energy – nor the inclination – to put on the whole show with all the bells and whistles.

Here’s what I’ve learned from my ‘minimum compliance Christmas’

‘Have to’ is a myth!

We put so much pressure on ourselves because of things we have convinced ourselves (or been convinced of) are of paramount importance and just absolutely ‘have to’ be done.

The truth is, that it’s all bullshit!

We keep on falling for it though…

We keep measuring ourselves against these impossible standards of perfection that were set by our mothers or grandmothers or magazines or friends or Pinterest or whatever source it is that we are getting our standards from.

The truth of the matter is that the sun will rise and set, anyway, regardless of whether or not you pulled off the perfect Christmas lunch. The world won’t end if you couldn’t afford to buy the expensive gifts or it looks like a drunk T-Rex wrapped all the presents. The people who truly matter, won’t love you any less. So why are you so worried about these ‘standards’ and this impossible ‘perfection’?

Let that shit go!

Focus on creating memories. Focus on the laughter and the fun – things that you won’t be able to achieve if you’re relentlessly chasing some ‘standard’.

You don’t ‘have to’ pull off the ‘perfect’ anything! All you have to do, is your best, under the circumstances – no matter what that is. The world will always go on and things will always turn out ok in the end, with or without a Pinterest perfect lunch table.

Just do what you can. Breathe. It will be ok, I promise.

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