Is it just me or does it seem like there is more and more added every year, to the holiday to-do list? With that said, do we have a choice in how big our list is? 

Yes-and hear me out, I know you feel obligated to be here and there, make dozens of cookies, decorate the house and...but at what expense? 

Most likely you're sacrificing your sanity, sleep, mindfulness,  exercise, family time or all the other stuff you should be saying yes to, in order to feel like you're doing everything that is expected of you from the outside world. 

Maybe it's because I'm an older mom, or maybe it's because I watched (when I was teacher) so many families hustle and bustle with an overwhelmed look on their face, that I don't feel the pull to a commercialized holiday or life. Maybe it's because I tried it once and it left me incredibly disconnected and sad. 

So again,  I want to encourage you to spend time with those you love, doing the simple things. Make breakfast together and cut out toast in the shape of a tree or a snowflake (use cookie cutters). Take a walk or play outside without worrying about making it a magical moment-guess what? Your time is magical to your child. Gather cardboard boxes and build a fort and get down and play. 

When we stop doing all the things to entertain our children and instead be present with our child, a huge shift happens.  

So this season say NO! 

Here's my list of things to say no to this season, so you can say yes to what truly matters.  

1. Overspending- we create our children's expectations. Children aren't born expecting the latest and greatest and a tree with expensive presents underneath.  You're child will not be damaged by having less, especially if less is replaced with more of your time and energy.  In fact our children know what they are conditioned to. If your family makes gifts for each other, that will be what your child is grateful for and loves. Oh and for those worried about, "but what about when my child sees what other children get?" You know what, this is your insecurity,  not your child's. Sure there will be moments of your child wanting what others have, but that passes when your time is their greatest gift. 

2. Over baking/cooking-Pick a recipe or two that brings you joy and bake away. If you truly love making cookies for others-do it. If you make the cookies and feel stressed and short tempered with your family- don't do it! Don't trade your families wellness for others. Maybe next year you can bake the cookies for everyone.  Drop the things that don't support you and your family. Sidenote-if you need to bring something to a function, but don't have time,  buy it! There is no shame in bringing pre made cookies. 

3. Perfectly decorated home- You want to know what you'll miss when your children are no longer home? You'll miss the handmade memories. The mess. The noise. The togetherness. You won't miss the garland perfectly spaced or the lights just right. Stop creating a magazine home, build a heart and home surrounded with love. 

4. Unrealistic expectations-Pinterest mom? My friends there is a sacrifice behind every Pinterest perfect thing we see. It is most likely sleep or time with those you love. What happened to sharing family crafts and recipes while working together? The idea that we have to create something that was made to draw you in visually is so not good. 

5. Looking back on the month of December and feeling exhausted. Let's say no to this. How do we do that? We stop adding to our list. We take a breath when we feel like we need to do just one more thing and we say no. 

6. A filled calendar-have you scheduled in down time? If you're running here and there and everywhere (that's a Christmas song, right?!) You're definitely missing what truly matters. Look at the things that don't bring you joy and cancel them. 

7. Family expectations- This is hard, I understand,  but sometimes we have put to much pressure to be what our extended families need instead of what our immediate family needs. Just be mindful of this. You aren't a bad sister,  daughter,  cousin or....just because you decide to say no this year. 

I know, I know, it sounds like a selfish was of being,  but here's the thing,  if you're doing things for others and feeling too drained for your own family,  something is out of balance.  You have to say no to say yes, but you don't have to say no to everything. Just work to align yourself and your family, first. 

Saying no has left my family time to be together, but we also take time to serve others in a balanced way. 

What is something you struggle with saying no to during the holidays? Mine is in the comments.

As always,  I'm here to listen.

Are you following me @raisingempathywithme? If you're raising an empath/highly sensitive child-I created a private account to connect. I would love to have you join me there. 

Need more personalized support? Click HERE 

Coming soon-group coaching! A place to connect,  share and see that you're not alone!  Have a wonderful day-Joey



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