More or Less

November has arrived in all of its glory and December is right on its heels. Family gatherings, holiday celebrations, office and school parties, church plays and cantatas, traveling to see relatives, gifts given and received plus, in our case, six of our children’s birthdays. It’s as if every year is as determined as the one before it to go out with an exhilarating and equally exhausting bang! 

Some years I have handled these two months rather poorly. I intend to do better this year. With every invitation and every gift purchase, I intend to ask myself this question. More or less? I’m hoping my answers will help me have more joy and less stress as I celebrate my way through the next two months and arrive a bit less bedraggled at the doorstep of 2016. 

I have a confession to make. I’m an overachiever. I’m full of passion and intensity. That sometimes leads to over commitment when I fail to take due notice of the fact that there are only so many hours in each day, so much money in the account, and so much energy in my body. Can you relate?

I think that one of the traps of the season is expectations and another is perception. I believe we have this picture in our mind of how the holidays and even birthdays are suppose to look. We can feel like a failure if we don’t have Pinterest worthy parties, Instagram worthy decorations, Twitter worthy moments or Facebook worthy statuses. Besides social media, there’s family and church pressure. Events and invitations are competing for your attention until your calendar is filled with more to do but certainly not delivering the desired less stress. 

So, this year, maybe you too should ask yourself that telling question. More or less? Is spending more on that gift than you can afford the right choice? Or spending what you can afford and having less stress in January when the bills come around? Will attending that party bring more joy? Or lessen the time you have to focus on what really matters? Can you simplify the holidays by refusing the more and choosing the less? You can. So can I. 

I suggest a strategy, a plan. Perhaps it will be as simple as marking off every Tuesday and Thursday to be at home. Maybe deciding ahead of time how many events you will attend. Here’s a thought, how about an actual budget of how much you will spend and sticking to it. You may need to avoid attempting to do it all yourself and allow for some imperfect wrappings, dishes and decorations. 

I plan to take my own advise and refuse to compare myself to other more organized and talented mommas. I will celebrate their choice for a tree in every room of their house as I try to figure out the where and when of my one. I will admire their picture perfect tables and give myself permission to use disposable plates and cups. I will cheer on the fantastic ideas and feel free to say I hope it turns out well but, we can’t make it this time. I will continue to ask myself, more or less? Then I will remind myself that less is more. 

   

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4 thoughts on “More or Less”

  1. Very wise. I freely admit that I am very competitive and have a real weakness for comparing myself to others – and I always find myself wanting. There are actually people in my social media circle that I make a conscious decision to hide / mute in the run-up to Christmas, because they are such perfectionists and so stressed about it all that they make *me* anxious and upset, too.

    There are certain traditions that I can’t let go of, and others that I have scaled-back or dumped entirely as I do the “more or less” exercise. I hope this year I am able to keep on an even keel and actually enjoy the holidays.

  2. So timely and wise! Thank you! We love you and we wish you the joy and beauty and the blessings of this wondrous time of the year!

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