Holidays can be the most joyful time….and the most stressful. I think we all would like to lean towards more joy and less stress.

I’ve always had holiday anxiety. Ever since I was a kid. My mom did everything right to create a perfect holiday experience and I sat in my room on the edge of a panic attack.

 Two years into Adam’s and my marriage, I made a new rule: I will create the holiday I want to have.

I think a lot of holiday stress comes from the burden of expectations.

We take on everyone else’s holiday expectations and make them our own. It might be handed down traditions, work or friend commitments, family expectations or just general culture. Maybe those things are a great fit for the holiday you want.

But if they aren’t, feel free to write some new rules. And let other people write their own rules.

I have a friend who LOVES the gifts. She shops all year for dozens of thoughtful gifts for her family. She also has no expectations that others should do the same.

One friend LOVES the baking. Weeks of baking. 1000 cookies!

Some love outdoor activities. Ski trips, dog sledding, $5 Walmart sleds down a local hill, walks in the snow covered forest. Or a trip someplace tropical.

Maybe it’s a few hours with extended family that fill you up. Maybe you want two weeks in the family home with lazy days in pj’s. Maybe you sign up to work the time and a half shift so you can skip the whole thing. 

What about the holidays fill YOU up? What works for your family?

Each season of life looks different for us. We make new traditions and we use old ones when they fit.

We try to be flexible with others expectations. But we don’t make the holidays miserable.